Through the final months of the 2019 season, several drivers firmed up their plans for what they are doing moving forward into 2020 and beyond. One of those who is still searching for a ride is Daniel Suarez.
Just a couple days before the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Suarez found out that he would be replaced by Cole Custer behind the wheel of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in 2020.
“It was a surprise,” he commented this past weekend. “I was as shocked as you guys are probably right now, just a couple of nights ago. It is what it is. One door closes, another door opens.”
It was well documented through the past couple months that Suarez was working with SHR to renew their contract, with the Mexican “95% sure that we were in” at one point in his comments. Though ultimately, the deal fell short due to a matter of dollars.
“We needed a few months,” he said. “We had to find a big amount of money to keep the ride for next year. My group of people, friends and a lot of people at Stewart-Haas Racing went to work and we actually did a pretty good job. We pretty much got the goal but unfortunately part of the money wasn’t on the table at this point. It was going to come a few months later and it wasn’t enough. It was a little unfortunate.”
Suarez said through the process, both Tony Stewart and Brett Frood were pushing for him to return, but “unfortunately things didn’t work out with Haas.”
It marks the second straight season that Suarez is now spending his off-season searching for a ride, after losing his place at Joe Gibbs Racing a year ago.
“I am pretty strong,” he said. “I have had a lot of sacrifices in my life to be here. Not just when I came here to the US, but even before that. To stay in racing and to do a lot of different things. As many of you know, I don’t come from a race family or from a lot of money or have a lot of contacts or anything like that. I am here because of myself.
“This has been tough. It is not fun to be in this position. I feel like I am strong and it has been a little difficult the last 24-hours. I couldn’t believe it because we did find a big amount of money. This is the position we are in now but I think good things happen to good people and I am sure good things are going to line up for me.”
Since finding out about his release, Suarez has spent time with Stewart, with the past series Cup Champion assuring him that he was trying to help Suarez stay in the family. That could possibly result in him being behind the wheel of an Xfinity car for Stewart-Haas Racing, or one of the Cup seats in Front Row Motorsports’ Fords.
Of note, Suarez has also spoken with Mark Rushbrook from Ford Performance to discuss possibilities on the table.
“Tony is a great guy,” Suarez commented. “In the last six months I have learned that he is a very good friend. In the last week I have been talking to him a lot. He was talking to a lot of people and he was pushing very hard for me. Unfortunately the 41 team, and especially the 41, he doesn’t have a lot that he can do with that car because the 41 is not his car. He pushed. I am sure that he pushed as hard as he could, like a lot of people at Stewart-Haas Racing did. It just didn’t work out.”
Though right now, Suarez is unsure if that is a direction that he wants to take with Stewart.
“There are a lot of things going through my head right now and I don’t know,” he admitted. “I don’t even know if I want to be here. That is the way it is. I have to get back on my feet and find the best option for myself.”
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