CONCORD, N.C. — The racing career of Daniel Suarez, the first full-time Mexican driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, has had its twists and turns, but he has landed a ride that will allow him to compete for one of NASCAR’s top organizations.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Monday that Suarez has replaced Kurt Busch as the driver of the team’s No. 41 car. The announcement, which came on the same day as Suarez’s 27th birthday, was not a surprise, as former Joe Gibbs Racing driver has been the front-runner for the spot the past few months.
Telecommunications company Arris will continue to sponsor Suarez, as it will move from JGR to SHR to replace Monster Energy, which went with Busch to Chip Ganassi Racing. Haas Automation — the company founded by SHR co-owner Gene Haas — will remain as a co-primary sponsor on SHR’s No. 41 car.
“This is the opportunity every driver wants, and now I have it,” Suarez said in a news release. “I want to deliver for this team, our drivers, our partners in Haas Automation, Arris and Ford, and, ultimately, for me. We have everything we need to be successful.”
The 2016 Xfinity Series champion, Suarez has competed in the Cup Series the past two years, finishing 20th as a rookie in 2017 and 21st in 2018. He was unexpectedly pushed out of his JGR ride for 2019 when JGR hired 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., whose Furniture Row Racing team was in limbo (and is now closed).
Suarez found out in September that he wouldn’t return to JGR and quickly became the top candidate to replace Busch at an organization that put all four of its drivers among the eight in the third (semifinal) round of the playoffs in a 12-win 2018 season. SHR has captured two Cup titles — in 2011 with Tony Stewart and 2014 with Kevin Harvick — and has won 31 Cup races in the last five seasons.
The Monterrey native has had a few years of unexpected twists to his career. He planned to defend his Xfinity Series title in 2017, but when Carl Edwards abruptly retired in the offseason, he went to Cup. Then less than two months into his first season, his crew chief Dave Rogers resigned for personal reasons.
While he finished one spot lower in the standings in 2018, he had three top-5 finishes in 2018 compared to one in 2017. He sat on the pole and finished second at Pocono in August for the best Cup run of his career. He also finished second in the 2018 NASCAR All-Star race.
“In each series Daniel has raced in, he’s advanced quickly from rookie to race winner,” team co-owner Tony Stewart said in a news release. “In four years, he went from the [regional] K&N Series to the NASCAR Cup Series. In between, he won an Xfinity Series championship, and he did it all while learning a new language and a new culture.
“He’s dedicated, he’s talented and we’re proud to have him as a key part of our race team.”