On Monday, it was revealed by Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern that Daniel Suarez would be exploring free agency for the second-consecutive offseason, but the report left open a potential return to the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing team if a better option was not found for Suarez.
On Tuesday, morning Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press had the first report that Suarez would flat-out not be returning to the team next season. Shortly after that report, Suarez officially announced that he will not be returning to the team in 2021 in a video posted to his social media channels.
“I wanted for you guys to hear this directly from me. Unfortunately, I will not be returning to Gaunt Brothers Racing in the No. 96 Toyota Camry next season,” Suarez explained in the video. “I wanted to start this video by thanking Toyota for everything that they have done for me in the past and especially this year. This year, they helped me and believed in me holding this project and team together a lot of new friends that I see like family in Toyota.”
Suarez has spent all of his NASCAR career, aside from 2019 — when he was at Stewart-Haas Racing — under the Toyota umbrella. This season, GBR made the move to full-time racing for the first time in their history as a NASCAR Cup Series team. While the organization has had some growing pains, they have been consistently inside the top-30 just about all season long.
As a non-chartered team, they are actually higher than several chartered teams in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Owner Standings and barring any unforeseen circumstances, they should take home the bonus money for being the top non-chartered team just like they did in 2019.
While Suarez had hoped the No. 96 team would be more competitive in 2020, he wishes Marty Gaunt and everybody on the team well going forward as he starts the process of finding a new opportunity.
“I also want to wish Gaunt Brothers Racing nothing but the best for the future,” Suarez said. “At the same time, I don’t really know what the future holds for myself, just yet. So, you guys stay tuned for that news. I don’t exactly know what’s going to happen yet, but hopefully something good.”
Here is the full video from Suarez:
— Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) September 15, 2020
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.