By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Daniel Suarez has long been rumored to be headed to Stewart-Haas Racing and on Monday, the team made it official. The Monterrey, Mexico native will be driving the No. 41 Ford for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series campaign, taking over for Kurt Busch.
Suarez will be joining the already stout lineup at the team, which includes Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Aric Almirola. Last season, the four SHR drivers combined for 12 wins en route to each of them making it into the playoffs, a first in company history.
“This is the best birthday present I could ask for,” said Suárez, who celebrates his 27th birthday on Monday. “We’ve all seen how competitive Stewart-Haas Racing is – all of their drivers won last year and all of them advanced deep into the playoffs.
“This is the opportunity every driver wants, and now I have it. I want to deliver for this team, our partners in Haas Automation, ARRIS and Ford and, ultimately, for me. We have everything we need to be successful.”
After a promising start to his career with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, which included three wins, 33 top-five finishes, 55 top-10 finishes, six poles, and 628 laps led in 84 starts, along with the 2016 championship, Suarez was promoted to the Cup Series in 2017 following the sudden retirement of Carl Edwards.
In the two seasons since moving up to the top level of the sport, Suarez had a bit of a rough road, with only four top-five finishes, 21 top-10 finishes, one pole, and 75 laps led in 72 starts. His tenure in the No. 19 car at JGR also came with points finishes of 20th and 21st in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
When push came to shove, Suarez was the odd man out, but despite finding himself on the outside when it came to JGR, he did manage to bring one of his primary sponsors, ARRIS, along with him to Stewart-Haas, where they will join Haas Automation in sponsorship of Suarez’s Ford.
“In each series Daniel has raced in, he’s advanced quickly from rookie to race winner,” said team co-owner Tony Stewart. “In four years, he went from the 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.”
Fellow co-owner Gene Haas echoed Stewart’s statements about Suarez joining the team with some thoughts of his own.
“We’re in racing to win and we believe Daniel Suárez can win in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Haas. “Haas Automation is a global brand and our success is directly attributable to how we’ve leveraged the Haas name in racing. We use motorsports to showcase our latest technology and to attract the best talent in engineering and design. Daniel allows Haas Automation to strengthen its ties to the Mexican community by racing the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang.”