No more need to speculate, Daniel Suarez is joining Stewart-Haas Racing as the new pilot for the 41 car, succeeding Kurt Busch. At worst, it’s a lateral move for the native of Mexico, as he goes from one top organization to another. Even if Busch had a middling tenure at SHR, Suarez has some big shoes to fill.
Love him or hate him, Kurt Busch has an impressive resume. A championship and 30 Cup wins puts him in some rare company. Trying to weed through all the media spin, who really knows why he departed after five seasons for Chip Ganassi. Maybe he just needed a fresh start.
No doubt a fresh start is what Daniel Suarez will get. Saying he was a flop at JGR would be a harsh assessment of a two-year stint at the Cup level, and a championship run in the Xfinity Series. Suarez hovered right around 20th in the standings, and even ran out front a few times. Put another way, Daniel Suarez has a short body of work in the states, and there have been better, and there have been worse.
One thing is certain: Suarez has not taken a step back. New teammate Kevin Harvick is annually a contender. Clint Bowyer rebounded with SHR in 2018. Aric Almirola experienced a new lease on life with his best year yet.
All the pieces are in place for a successful run for Suarez. Ford is running well in the Cup Series, SHR has a strong organization and the competitive environment is such that there are real opportunities for the up and comers to claim their piece of the pie. All that’s to say, there’s nothing holding back Daniel Suarez.
Of course it would be great to have another mold-breaking driver become a new face for NASCAR. The opportunity is there.