Daniel Suarez is a talented race car driver. That is undeniable.
The Mexico-native was the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, and despite not winning a race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series through 107 starts, Suarez has a career-best finish of second.
However, just missing out on a Playoff bid in 2019 and a lack of sponsorship contributed to Suarez not getting a chance at a second season with Stewart-Haas Racing. Or, at least, it seemed.
According to Suarez in a Friday media availability, he seemed shocked by the decision SHR made to move on from him. Suarez says that he had secured the financial backing that SHR required for him to return to the No. 41 team next season, but at the end of the day, even that, still wasn’t enough.
“I am a little disappointed,” said Suarez. “A lot of people have worked very hard on this team to try to put everything together and unfortunately it wasn’t enough. We needed a few months. We had to find a big amount of money to keep the ride for next year. My group of people, friends and a lot of people at Stewart-Haas Racing went to work and we actually did a pretty good job. We pretty much got the goal but unfortunately part of the money wasn’t on the table at this point. It was going to come a few months later and it wasn’t enough. It was a little unfortunate. It was a surprise. I was as shocked as you guys are probably right now, just a couple of nights ago. It is what it is. One door closes, another door opens.”
So what happened? How did Suarez end up being shown the door in favor of Xfinity Series standout Cole Custer? Suarez continued by hinting that it was Gene Haas who didn’t want him back in the seat.
“It has been less than 36 hours since I found out,” Suarez explained. “Like I said, I have been talking with most of you for the last few weeks and I am pretty sure that most of you saw me very confident because I knew where we were. I was 95% sure that we were in. I thought we were in good shape. I was extremely surprised. A lot of people at Stewart-Haas Racing worked very hard to put everything together. It was disappointing to see that. Tony Stewart was pushing for me so hard. Brett Frood, a lot of people in Stewart-Haas Racing. Unfortunately things didn’t work out with Haas.”
So the more we begin to hear about this situation, the more it appears that Haas did not want Suarez behind the wheel. Based on what Suarez has said, it seems Haas laid out what seemed to be an impossible sponsorship goal to Suarez. When Suarez attained it, Haas seemingly yanked the rug out from under Suarez.
It’s a tough situation. But, if you’re feeling sorry for Suarez, he says he will come back even stronger.
“I am pretty strong,” said Suarez. “I have had a lot of sacrifices in my life to be here. Not just when I came here to the US, but even before that. To stay in racing and to do a lot of different things. As many of you know, I don’t come from a race family or from a lot of money or have a lot of contacts or anything like that. I am here because of myself. This has been tough. It is not fun to be in this position. I feel like I am strong and it has been a little difficult the last 24-hours. I couldn’t believe it because we did find a big amount of money. This is the position we are in now but I think good things happen to good people and I am sure good things are going to line up for me.”
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.