Less than a month before the season-opening Daytona 500, the most anticipated domino for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Silly Season — Daniel Suarez — has finally fallen.
According to multiple sources, who spoke to TobyChristie.com on the condition of anonymity, a deal between Suarez and Gaunt Brothers Racing for the full 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season has been completed.
This ends months of wild speculation about where Suarez would land after it was announced in mid November, that he would be replaced by Cole Custer in Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 car for the upcoming season.
One of the sources says the Suarez deal with GBR could be officially announced as early as Monday.
This deal will of course realign Suarez with Toyota, the manufacturer that got his NASCAR journey started, after spending last year with Ford.
Although, the sources would not divulge which sponsors are involved in the deal, it is worth noting that previous Suarez backers — ARRIS and Coca-Cola — did not appear in their usual b-post position on a recent Cole Custer 2020 paint scheme rendering.
ARRIS and their Ruckus Network combined as a primary sponsor in eight races for Suarez in 2019, while Coca-Cola was a primary sponsor for another two events.
Suarez, who is still searching for his first NASCAR Cup Series win, has 32 top-10 finishes in 108 career starts. Suarez just missed out on the Playoffs a year ago, while driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. The Mexico native ended up 17th in the championship standings.
The 28-year old driver’s best Cup Series finish to date, was a runner-up effort at Pocono in 2018.
Suarez is a three-time race winner in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and he won the 2016 NXS championship. He also scored one victory in NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series competition in 2016.
Gaunt Brothers Racing has never competed full-time in NASCAR.
Parker Kligerman, who ran 14 races for the organization in 2019, released a statement via r/NASCAR (reddit NASCAR):
“Such is racing. GBR and Toyota were incredibly gracious and kind to give me a second chance at the top. I wishing them the best of luck, great chance for them to go full-time for the first time.”
Instead of focusing on quantity of races, the team has been focused on trying to notch quality finishing positions. Last season, this strategy paid off as they collected the bonus money for being the NASCAR Cup Series’ top non-chartered team, despite only running 15 races in 2019.
Now, with a driver who is considered a top-tier prospect, the organization appears ready to attempt a full-time foray into the NASCAR Cup Series.