Suárez leaving Gaunt Brothers Racing

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 23: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #41 ARRIS Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 23, 2019 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Throw Daniel Suárez in the Silly Season hat for 2021. Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) and Suárez announced Tuesday that they have mutually agreed to part ways at the end of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Suárez, who joined GBR in late January, will continue to drive the No. 96 Toyota Camry through the season finale Nov. 8 at Phoenix Raceway.

“The entire team is very appreciative of the effort Daniel has put forth. He has helped build the foundation we need for next season as well as 2022 when the NextGen car arrives,” said Marty Gaunt, president and CEO, GBR. “We’re both committed to earning as many points as possible in these last eight races together and finishing the season strong.”

The Mexican born driver will be searching for his third team in four years in 2021. He was shoved into NASCAR’s top division as a rookie in 2017, replacing Carl Edwards at Joe Gibbs Racing after Edwards announced his shocking retirement. After two seasons at JGR, Suarez spent 2019 at Stewart-Haas Racing before joining the Gaunt Brothers’ effort this year.

Suarez currently ranks 31st in the Cup Series standings with his best finish of 18th coming twice this season. He failed to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500. His best run in 2020 came in the regular-season finale at Daytona a few weeks ago, where he led 19 laps before being swept up in a crash in the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

“I’m extremely thankful to my entire Toyota family for everything they have done for me, especially this year. I will always be grateful to them for having my back,” said Suárez, currently in his fourth season in the NASCAR Cup Series. “Marty and everyone at Gaunt Brothers Racing invest a lot of time and effort into this race team and I’m proud to have been a part of it. I have given 100 percent of myself to this team since day one, and I will continue to give 100 percent until the last lap at Phoenix. My goal has always been to win races and championships, and that will never change.”

The 2020 season is Gaunt Brothers Racing’s first full season in the NASCAR Cup Series after three years of part-time participation.

“It’s a big jump to go from a part-time schedule to a full-time schedule, especially this season as we all dealt with the challenges of a global pandemic, but we’ve made it work,” Gaunt said. “Our strategic partnership with Toyota has been a critical and valuable asset, and that’s evident by the reliability we’ve been able to achieve this year. We’re laying important groundwork for improved goals next year that, ultimately, sets us up for success with the NextGen car in 2022. We’re taking a methodical, long-term approach to our future and the next driver of our No. 96 Toyota will be an integral part of that development.”

Greg Engle