Ankrum’s Perfection at Kentucky Leads Him to Victory

Tyler Ankrum made his eighth start with DGR-Crosley Racing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Kentucky Speedway capturing his first career win.

The 18-year-old became a first-time winner, now hopeful to take the next step towards making a name for himself in NASCAR.  

The victory comes after missing the first three races of the season and the Buckle Up Your Truck 225 being only his twelfth start in the Truck Series. 

The California native began his early career running quarter midgets where he eventually moved up to late models. Ankrum had a breakout year last season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, capturing four victories, the Sunoco Rookie of the year and most importantly, the championship.

After winning at popular tracks like South Boston Speedway and Iowa Speedway, now Ankrum can add Kentucky to his list. It also adds to his season totals as he entered this weekend with a top-five and three top-10 finishes. His best result prior to visiting victory lane was third and came at Texas Motor Speedway which is a 1.5-mile track like Kentucky Speedway.

Prior to the weekend, Ankrum and the DGR-Crosley team were hopeful that a clean weekend may ultimately lead them to a victory.

“I’m excited about Kentucky,” Ankrum said. “I think we’ve been getting more competitive every week and I believe what we have been working on with our Tundra’s will catalyze this weekend. I have high hopes and I think we can win.”

The 18-year-old led a career high of 40 laps and took the lead with less than five laps to go as Brett Moffitt ran out of fuel. Now Ankrum is locked into the post-season.

“Hopefully it means a sponsor – holy cow!” Ankrum said in victory lane. “I cannot believe I just did this.Man, it’s going to take a lot of work. Honestly, one of my biggest faults is I’ve always doubted myself. I kind of feel like all that has washed away. I can’t thank David Gilliland and DGR-Crosley enough.”

He has experience also in crew chief Kevin Manion, who was on top of the pit box for Ankrum; the veteran captured his first win in the Truck Series since 2017.

Momentum coming into the weekend paid off for the young driver. As good as Ankrum has been in the 1.5 mile tracks this season, it was not a surprise that he performed so well in Thursday night’s Buckle Up 225.

With the playoffs inching closer, it’s going to be interesting to see if Ankrum can find funding to allow him to compete for a championship.



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

NASCAR Cup Series

Winning is the Message Byron Looks to Send at Daytona

A long tradition of racing in July at Daytona International Speedway comes to an end Saturday night after the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

Last year, we saw Erik Jones capture his first career victory in NASCAR’s top division of racing. It was an emotional celebration for Jones, but this season may mean much more to the winner of this famed race.

The weekend got off to a hot start as drama in final practice on Thursday between William Byron and Brad Keselowski has been the buzz of the weekend. Byron blocked Keselowski and nearly was turned, but he was able to grab control and save his race car.

Although Byron is heading to a backup car, he has shown experience and aggression at the superspeedways. Coming off a top-10 finish at Chicagoland Speedway, he and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates come to Daytona with a bit of momentum.

Last weekend, Alex Bowman grabbed his first career win at Chicago. Not only that, all of the Hendrick Motorsports machines finished in the top-11, something we rarely saw the season before.

The speed for Byron is not a surprise at Daytona. The second year driver grabbed the Daytona 500 pole in February, but wrecked out of the “Great American Race.” After the practice incident with Keselowski, Byron felt some displeasure from the former champion.

“It’s practice,” said Byron. “I don’t think that was really necessary to turn us there…I didn’t really expect that, but that’s all right. It wasn’t like I changed four lanes down the backstretch and blocked him. I was just kind of holding my lane, and he just used his run to drive into my left rear.”

Keselowski obviously had another take on the incident as it seemed like he was trying to teach the 21-year-old a superspeedway lesson.

“Just had a big run,” Keselowski said after the incident. “He put me in a position where I had to lift, and I keep telling these guys I’m not lifting. Just trying to send a message. I’m not lifting. I’m tired of getting wrecked at these (superspeedway) tracks. They’re all watching. They know.”

Keselowski clearly sent him a message after Byron had to go to a back up car. But his actions and words after the practice session did not intimidate the Charlotte, North Carolina native. In fact, Byron still feels confident and knows he has a strong team behind his back.

“It doesn’t bother me because I’m driving the car at the end of the day and I still have an opportunity to do that,” Byron said. “My team backs me. And, the confidence that comes from my team to know that they support me is all that I need. So, I think I’ve said this other times. I don’t care to have him as a friend or anything, so I don’t really need other people’s approval. So, I can still have a clean race car to go race on Saturday and hopefully go win the race.”

The Hendrick boys look continue their run as we inch towards the playoffs. They are the only Chevrolet team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to win a race this year and hope to have all their drivers in the post-season. As for Saturday night’s thriller under the lights, they plan on working together to put one of them in victory lane.

“We’re going to work really well together,” Byron said. “All the Chevrolet guys worked well together at Talladega. Unfortunately I wasn’t in on the good side of that. I got wrecked late in the race. But, I feel like this weekend will be a great chance for us to work together and hopefully with where we are in points, we can hopefully go for a win and try to get as many points as possible. But really, we want to win this race.”

Surviving Daytona on Saturday is one of the keys to success at the historic track and after a rocky start to the weekend, Byron plans to end it with his first win and a ticket to the playoffs.

“I honestly feel like we should be contending for the win at the end.”



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.


NASCAR Cup Series

Larson Feels Like Bristol Doesn’t Owe Him a Victory

As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for the eighth race of the season, Kyle Larson is returning to his favorite track. The California native has never won at the high-banked short track in the Cup Series, but hopes to find victory after being so close many times in the past.

A victory would be critical at this time as unfortunately for Larson, it hasn’t been the smoothest start of the season for the 26-year-old. He only has two top-10 finishes and an average finish of 15.1. Last year, he placed second in both races at Thunder Valley.

“I don’t feel like I’m owed anything anywhere, but that’s the one track where I feel like time after time I’m close to winning a race there every time I go,” Larson said. “I just don’t get it done. Not that it owes me anything. I just need to do a better job at the end of the races.”

The Sprint car expert is no stranger to losing close races in dirt competition as well. During this year’s memorable Chili Bowl, Larson lost the event with a few laps remaining against rival Christopher Bell.

Both drivers come from dirt racing backgrounds and have proven to be successful on asphalt. Larson’s aggressiveness in a Sprint car sometimes transitions to stock cars, which may be a reason why he hasn’t been able to close out a Cup Series race at Bristol.

“I think you’ve got to be really aggressive to run a winged Sprint Car and maybe sometimes I’m over-aggressive in a stock car,” Larson said. “Other than that, I think there are more good habits than bad habits. I think racing any type of car helps for any type of car, too. I mean the aggressive side of things is also good in NASCAR. You need to be aggressive. But, I don’t know; maybe sometimes I get over-aggressive. I’m not really sure. But, I think racing winged Sprint Cars helps me more than anything.”

While Bristol is just another race this year, it will play an important moving forward in NASCAR. Last week, the Cup Series schedule for 2020 was released, with the half-mile becoming the first cutoff race in the playoffs. Other  significant modifications includes the changing of the season finale from Homestead-Miami Speedway to ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona.

Larson is enthusiastic about the schedule change and the cutoff races.

“Overall, I think the schedule is really good,” Larson said. “It just adds a lot of excitement to the year. I think going to the West Coast before Atlanta is good. I think all the cutoff races in the Playoffs are really intense, exciting places that the points can change a lot throughout those events. Yeah, I think it was good. Having a two week break is nice. Some weekends take some Sprint Car races away from me, but others add a lot more, too. So overall, I think the schedule is really exciting.

“Even though Homestead has been a track where I can lead a bunch of laps and also challenge for wins, I feel like it needs to go somewhere else. I’d still like to see it go, and Joey Logano mentioned it on TV this week, but go to a different track every year just like the Super Bowl does. Like for me, Homestead is my best track and everybody says if I make it to the final four, I’ve got the best shot. Well it shouldn’t always be like that. It shouldn’t go to Phoenix where Kevin Harvick has got the best odds to win every year. It should be able to move around. I think if tracks could bid on it or however it works in football, I think that would be cool.”

The 2020 Cup Series schedule is the first of changes to come to the sport heading into the future. Revising the schedule has been in the talks the past few years and the adjustments show that NASCAR is listening to the fans.

Nonetheless, this season is still young and there is a lot of racing to be run before we think about next year. As for Larson, he still has time to become more consistent and contend for wins.

This weekend at Bristol may very well be what turns around the No. 42 teams’ season and it couldn’t come at a better time in the schedule.



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

NASCAR Cup Series

New Rules Package a Test for Many Teams, Including Go FAS Racing

As Speedweeks ended Sunday after the conclusion of the 61st running DAYTONA 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway is the next challenge. This means the 2019 rules package will finally be spectated on the track for its first regular season race. Although we will not see the complete package until Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a few weeks, the 1.54-mile oval will still be a test for many teams.

NASCAR announced during the offseason that it would be introducing a new package for the 2019 season and will be used in 17 of the 36 races on the schedule. The new regulations are designed to bolster competition with enhanced aerodynamic and engine configurations with the hopes of improving the racing on the track.

We already witnessed at the Las Vegas test late last month that the cars will be racing a lot closer in tracks that traditionally did not display that. Although testing at Las Vegas was helpful, there is a lot more that NASCAR and the race teams will be learning throughout the season.

The new rules may cause teams to focus on building race cars that can ultimately grab momentum from a car ahead instead of the days where engineers focused on being fast in single car runs because they would rarely run in packs at 1.5-mile ovals. But is this going to be an advantage for smaller teams? 

“I think its going to have the field run closer together,” Corey LaJoie told POPULAR SPEED. “I don’t think you’re going to see the small teams just drive to the front like some people think. The cream is always going to rise to the top. The guys with the most resources, the wind tunnel time, and the best equipment are always going to be upfront, that’s just the way NASCAR works.

“I think it’s going to give you an allusion of better racing because there is going to be more cars on the lead lap and are closer together on the race track. I think the running order is going to be pretty similar to what we see now.”

The driver of the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Mustang will be running in this Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. As he comes off an 18th place finish at Daytona, Old Spice announced it will sponsor the No. 32 car once again this upcoming weekend.

Although LaJoie wants to win races, the Concord, North Carolina driver is being realistic about his thoughts on the new rules package. Go Fas Racing is on running on limited resources and is still a few weeks away before they get going 100%.

“We’re just going to really settle in and see how this package works, whether where we stack up speed wise every week,” LaJoie said. “It’s hard saying not knowing where we are going to be body wise and that sort of stuff. We are pretty limited on cars, so we need to be conservative on what situation we put ourselves in and I don’t think we’re really going to be racing legitimately until probably Martinsville and we’re just going to try and get through and make sure the cars aren’t torn up and then start racing once we have a good inventory of cars built up.”

So much is in question when it comes to this upcoming weekend. Whether it is the weather or how the outcome of group qualifying will be is a mystery.

Atlanta has sort of some of a similar feel that the DAYTONA 500 had last weekend. Many were concerned that the bottom lane would be nearly dead for the Great American Race, but in fact, it turned out to be one of the most entertaining superspeedway events in the last decade.

As TV ratings boomed compared to last year’s race, will we have the same or similar outcome this weekend at Atlanta? We’ll just have to wait and see.



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

NASCAR Cup Series

Ross Chastain Survives Late Daytona 500 Carnage

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday’s DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway concluded with carnage and chaos. From a race with huge packs throughout the event it became a survival strategy in the closing laps.

Many thought we were going to see what we saw on Saturday with the Xfinity Series race, cars running single file against the wall. Fortunately, that was not the case. The event consisted of two-wide and sometimes three-wide racing most of the day.

The first major accident happened with less than 20 laps to go. More than 15 cars were a part of that accident, but Ross Chastain was able to overcome the madness and bring home the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet in 10th place.

“Just riding around” Chastain told reporters. “Jay Robinson working together, having a plan coming in that’s why he kept me in the car and didn’t put other people in I think because he knew we could work together and know when to go right at the end and try to get 10th that’s a big deal for us.”

Chastain pulled triple duty to start off the season. In all three races, he stayed out of trouble and his best finish came in Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck event where he placed in the third position.

“It’s luck for sure, definitely luck,” Chastain said. “I said it this morning, we’re going to use all our luck up this weekend and I might come back here for five years and crash. You just take it when you can get it and luckily, I had a plan in the Truck race knowing they were going to crash and, in the Xfinity race, we got lucky because we went and raced, and nobody did crash so good thing we did race.

“Tonight, we knew from the beginning to just ride and we got two laps down at one point. The car was fast enough to keep up it was just matter of timing our gaps and stay in that second pack.”

Luck played a role for most of the drivers that finished in the top-10. Some of the cars that had strong placements were already involved in prior accidents throughout the event. It shows that part of your driving skills at superspeedway tracks like Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway must be fast reflexes as drivers need to know how to avoid wrecks.

“A couple of them we got lucky to be able to stop in time,” Chastain said. “I slid my tires a couple of times trying to get slowed down but I feel like its right place at the right time. There is a bigger plan for all of this and a lot of this is out of our control as far as if you get caught up in it or not.”

After an offseason that left Chastain in wonders after losing his full-time Xfinity Series ride with Chip Ganassi Racing, Chastain started the 2019 season on the right track. As Speedweeks concludes, Chastain will put his focus on Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend, where he hopes to continue the momentum of a strong start to the season.



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.


Top-Five at Daytona for Sieg Adds Confidence Ahead of Atlanta

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Saturday afternoons season opener for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona International Speedway displayed a calmer start compared to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race the night before.

The race was filled with single file racing up against the wall; with less than five laps to go it was the same old songg. The only driver who really tried to make moves at the bottom was Chase Elliott. It was not shocking because he was the only one with the same technique during Thursday night’s Gander RV Duel event.

Due to the single file racing, the event helped many teams take their cars back home in one piece. That is significantly important for the small teams with less resources.

One of those was Ryan Sieg Racing, which had two cars finish in the top-10. The No. 39 Chevrolet piloted by Ryan Sieg finished fourth and the No. 93. Chevrolet driven by Jeff Green placed seventh. Furthermore, Sieg received stage points after finishing in the top-10 after the first stage.

“It’s great, its spectacular for both of our little teams out of Georgia to come home with two top-10s at Daytona,” Sieg told POPULAR SPEED. “Just fantastic, all the guys behind it is the reason this thing goes, and they work their tails off. We only got just a few guys so to do three cars it’s a lot of work and they put it all in. “

The hard work certainly paid off this weekend, marking his first top-five since  Iowa in 2017. On the other hand, the last time Green finished in the top-10 was in 2017 at Talladega Superspeedway.

As we look ahead, Atlanta is the next circuit on the schedule. Strong starts to the season can be big for teams like Sieg’s.

“It’s a big deal, it’s always good to run good to start off the season and it does build confidence,” said Sieg. “You show that you can run towards the top-10. We’ll see how we stack up next week, but we should be pretty good, we’ve got some better stuff. We have new guys, new crew chief and they’re all part of it.”



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.


Final Four all over John Hunter Nemechek’s Mind

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As most young drivers are trying to make a name for themselves, John Hunter Nemechek has a familiar last name in the garage area. Being known as Joe Nemechek’s son, the 21-year-old has always dreamt of winning at Daytona International Speedway.

This season, Nemechek will be racing the full season with GMS Racing. Their first battle together is the high banks of Daytona, where he has never run in a NASCAR Xfinity Series car. The North Carolina native’s best finish at Daytona in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is fourth.

“It’ll be huge to win today at Daytona and there’s a lot of history in my family at Daytona,” Nemechek told POPULAR SPEED. “From my dad winning here back in the day, he has been a really good restrictor plate racer. Just Daytona itself, the atmosphere is huge, the history here is big so it would mean a lot. To kick off the first race with GMS Racing being able to come home with a win would mean a lot.”

His father has won twice in the Xfinity Series at Daytona. Nemechek is hoping to follow his father footsteps in being successful at that historic track.

After running a partial schedule in both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series, Nemechek was able to capture a victory in each series. During the off-season, the North Carolina native was anxious to get the season kicked off with GMS.

“Prepared a lot, a lot of training went in and watching videos. Nemechek said. “I’m just really excited and over the offseason I just got tired of talking about it so I was just ready to get to the race track and see what we can do. We have speed, qualifying didn’t really show it but as far as overall drafting speed I feel like we have it and I’m really looking forward in getting out there and racing later today.”

Taking advice from his victorious father on how to tackle Daytona, Nemechek is confident he has the speed to capture the victory. Furthermore, he is excited to see how the season plays out and prove that his team can compete for a championship.

“I want to be in final four at Homestead and have an opportunity to win the championship, that’s our overall goal.” Nemechek said.

With the big named teams in the garage area, the Xfinity Series is filled with high competition. GMS is looking to turn heads with their new driver behind the wheel. They hired a young driver with experience, but not only that, with a past race winner. 

Nonetheless, the No. 23 car is no stranger to reaching victory. Last season, they won at Talladega Superspeedway with Spencer Gallagher behind the wheel. The victory demonstrated that they do have cars with a great deal of speed.

As the season starts off, look for Nemechek to compete in the front of the field as he tries to add more wins to his name.



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.


New Season, New Expectations for Jordan Anderson Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – With Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway already taking place, most drivers fly in and out of town. Alternatively,  Jordan Anderson drove down to Daytona Beach. The South Carolina native is no stranger to driving his race trucks to tracks but his race team is in a better scenario this season than they were last year.

This time a year ago, Anderson only had two race trucks and were hauling their trucks from a pick-up truck pulling a small trailer, focused on finishing races and taking care of their budget. That has not changed much, but Anderson is excited about his team’s new alliance with GMS Racing.

“We have definitely stepped up.” Anderson told POPULAR SPEED. “We bought two older trucks from GMS to try and help our program step up so we’re now up to seven trucks. This time last year we only had two trucks, a superspeedway and intermediate truck. We are slowly but surely building the program up. We also have a new hauler, and everyone is working super hard to get everything built up.”

Anderson’s race team is looking to build off the new alliance. The partnership has helped scientifically, and one example is that this season Anderson is running strictly the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

Last season, the team ran a mixture of both Silverado’s and Toyota Tundra’s but during the winter, GMS helped them convert their Daytona truck from a Tundra to Silverado.

“They are helping us out with our pull down.” Anderson said. “They have been helping us out with our set up builds so I think in the long run it is going to be a big asset for us. All our trucks are still really different than what their trucks are, so we are trying to streamline that process, change our lowers and move to what kind of spindles they have, and it just takes time and money to get it all switched over.”

As bigger teams worry about stage points throughout the race, Anderson is solely focused on finishing strong. For a small team like his, strong results bring in more purse money and that is how they will be able to fully transition with the GMS alliance.

“I’m excited about our chances this year to step our program up in the field.” Anderson said. “We were always a 20-25 place truck last year now were going to hopefully bump it up to a 10-15 place truck. It’s a process, to really go up against the top guys our budget is not anywhere near those guys, but we are trying to step it up.”

Last season, he scored two top-10 finishes and they were both on superspeedway tracks.

“We were the only truck here to finish in the top-10 in both superspeedway races so if we can keep that stat going and go for a third one here I’ll be super happy.” Anderson said. “A lot of guys out there are racing for stage points but for us small teams stage points don’t pay purse money. We have to really be there at the end to get that purse money so that is big for our team to survive and keep growing.”

Anderson aims to grab more top-10 to top-15 finishes in other sized tracks other than superspeedways. A strong finish in an intermediate or short track will add more confidence to building his team.

“You don’t want to set such high expectations that you put yourself in a bad spot but were at the point now that yes, we have eight trucks, but we have four trucks that are complete and the other four are just the chassis and the body.” Anderson said. “The goal for us the first five to six races is to finish every race and try to compete against those guys but not put ourselves in a spot where we tear trucks up. I think if we look at our goals from last season we can say that we just want to improve on that.”

Anderson sets his eyes on improvements this season. He is stoked about the 2019 season and is looking to learn and build off it. His never give up attitude has led his team to growth and become more prosperous in the future.



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.


Gase Looking to Turn Heads with MBM Motorsports in 2019

At the beginning of January, MBM Motorsports announced that Iowa native Joey Gase will join their organization’s NASCAR XFINITY Series team full-time and run a partial schedule in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

After running the final Dodge at Homestead-Miami Speedway, MBM Motorsports will now field Gase in the No. 35 Toyota Supra in XFINITY and in the No. 66 Toyota Camry in the Cup Series beginning at Daytona International Speedway.

Gase comes off a full-time campaign with Go Green Racing where he placed 20th in points and had an average finish of 22.2. As the 2018 concluded, Gase knew he was going to face another stressful off-season.

A phone call from team owner Carl Long changed all of that.

“I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity Carl (Long) and MBM Motorsports is giving me this year,” Gase said in a release from the team. “Every off-season is stressful when you don’t know what your plans for the following season will be. This off-season by far has been the most stressful of my career with some unforeseen things happening.”

“One evening I was sitting in my office trying to figure out what my next move should be and then out of the blue Carl gave me a call and we talked for about two hours over the phone and now here we are. MBM Motorsports has grown and improved their program a lot over the last two years, especially the end of last season. I am very excited to be a part of that growth in 2019.”

MBM Motorsports was looking to add a driver with a great deal of seat time in the XFINITY Series, and Gase fit the bill as he will begin his sixth straight full-time season next month at the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona.

“Having an experienced driver in Joey Gase to start our season is a huge blessing,” said team owner Carl Long. “He has worked hard to bring sponsorship to MBM. Today’s driver has to be gifted in handling a car and promotions. Lucky for us Joey is one of the best in all of NASCAR at doing both. Look for us to turn heads this year!”

Gase will bring long-time sponsorship’s to the organization which include Eternal Fan, Donate Life, Medline, Argi Supply, Pro Master, Page Construction, along with other partners that will be announced later.

“I feel very lucky and fortunate to have so many great partners stick with me and it’s exciting to have some new partners joining the party with us this year as well! They are all passionate about raising awareness for organ, eye, and tissue donation, which is something that is very important to me.” said Gase.

This opportunity for Gase not only gives him another full-time ride but a new chapter with a different team in his career. As team owner Car Long said, “Look for us to turn heads this year!” Look for Gase to strive and overachieve MBM Motorsports 2019 goals.



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

NASCAR Cup Series

Elite Opportunity for Suárez at Stewart-Haas Racing

On Monday January 7, Monterrey, Mexico’s Daniel Suárez turned 27-years-old while announcing that he had signed with Stewart-Haas Racing, replacing Kurt Busch. He will drive the No. 41 Haas Automation/ARRIS International PLC.

After a mysterious off-season, the news that everyone was waiting for finally came out. The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion was told last year that he would not be back at Joe Gibbs Racing. During his two full-time campaigns in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Suarez has a best finish of second and scored one pole award.

“This is the best birthday present I could ask for,” said Suárez, who now calls Huntersville, North Carolina home. “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.”

His opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing not only keeps him in the Cup Series but also gives him the ability to prove himself in a top-tier ride. SHR was the headline of the 2018 season as they added Aric Almirola to their team and every driver went to victory lane.

Now, Suárez has the same chance Almirola had going into 2018. Prior to joining Stewart-Haas Racing, seven top-10 finishes are what Almirola scored highest in one season which was back in 2014. Last year, he captured 17 and added a second victory to his career which ultimately locked his spot in the postseason.

Will Suárez be the Almirola story of the 2019 season? Not necessarily as Suárez is in a different situation. He is much younger and has less experience than Almirola, but capturing this opportunity gives Suárez a chance to continue the little success he had at Joe Gibbs Racing and grow it into a possible championship caliber driver.

“In each series Daniel has raced in, he’s advanced quickly from rookie to race winner,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing. “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.”



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.