Suarez won’t return to Gaunt Brothers in 2020, where silly season now stands

Daniel Suarez is a free agent again. The Mexican driver will depart from the Gaunt Brothers at seasons end. They spent one season together. Suarez’ best finish so far is 18th back on May 31 st the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway as he sits 31st in the NASCAR Cup Series poitns standings after 28 races.

“I’m extremely thankful to my entire Toyota family for everything they have done for me, especially this year,” Suarez said. “I will always be grateful to them for having my back. Marty and everyone at Gaunt Brothers Racing invest a lot of time and effort into this race tram and I’m proud to have been 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.

Suarez, 28, has driven for three teams in Cup, all in the last three years. He was with Joe Gibbs Racing from 2017 when he replaced Carl Edwards that year. He remained with JGR in 2018 but was replaced by Martin Truex Jr. in 2019. He joined Stewart-Haas Racing last year for just one year then Gaunt Brothers in 2020. 

His 2021 plans could include Richard Petty Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, etc. 

“The entire team is very appreciative of the effort Daniel put forth, Marty Gaunt said. “He has helped build the foundation we need for next season as well as 2020 when the Next Gen car arrives. We’re both committed to earning as many points as possible in these last eight races together and finishing the season strong.”

Wallace and the 48 at Hendrick are 2 of the top dominoes in silly season now

One potential deal for Gaunt Brothers would be that long rumored partnership with Toyota/Denny Hamlin coming to join forces. We know Hamlin is looking to the future and wants to remain in the sport post his driving days once they are over. While he drives for Joe Gibbs Racing and isn’t leaving to drive for anyone else, he’s wanting to partner here too. 

I don’t know how it would work for Hamlin to drive for one team and race for another though. Dale Earnhardt did so in the last 90’s and into the 2000’s, but NASCAR has a rule against that now too. Is there a loop hole they’re exploring?

Toyota lost Leavine Family Racing now as they are shutting their doors at seasons end. Furniture Row Racing did the same post the 2018 season. Toyota needs that alliance team since they only have four cars at JGR in their stable. So, more Toyota involvement with Gaunt Brothers makes sense which could lead someone like Bubba Wallace over there. 

Does Erik Jones land with HMS?

Hendrick Motorsports still has the ride in the 48 open. Erik Jones, Wallace, Clint Bowyer, Chase Briscoe, Matt DiBenedetto and others could be in play there. They hold the keys to silly season. 

Stewart-Haas Racing is likely to bring back all four drivers now, which is why Briscoe and Bowyer could be in play for the Hendrick seat. They said as much a few weeks ago with Kevin Harvick, Cole Custer and Aric Almirola now all under contract for 2021. Clint Bowyer vs. Chase Briscoe will be duo for the final seat. The team doesn’t want to lose Briscoe. Neither does Ford. So, where does this play out? Briscoe, is deserving of a Cup ride. Does he leave to explore a ride at HMS if available?

Team Penske is set for 2021. They have Austin Cindric ready but no where to go now. Does that mean he lands in the Wood Brothers seat? Matt DiBenedetto doesn’t have anything lined up to return to the team next year but is hopeful. He’s in the playoffs with them. Do they cut ties after a year with DiBenedetto and bring in Cindric or does Cindric return to the Xfinity Series?

Noah Gragson will return to JR Motorsports. Harrison Burton will likely be back with Joe Gibbs Racing. Does Cindric and Briscoe end up back for one more season in Xfinity?

Ross Chastain and Justin Haley are both looking for rides. Does Chastain end up at Ganassi if Wallace isn’t there? 

Brett Moffitt should be considered for these rides too but will he seriously get the look that he deserves? If the Toyota deal pans out with Hamlin, does Moffitt end up there if Wallace doesn’t?

It sounds like Matt Kenseth isn’t going to be back with Ganassi next year and could go back into retirement. That leaves that ride open now for Chastain to finally get that seat. 

Then, does Ty Dillon land at RPM? Germain Racing looks to be gone now which leaves Dillon looking for a seat. Richard Childress Racing may not want to expand back to a three car team yet but they would be losing their alliance with Germain as well. RC isn’t going to throw his grandson to the curb but also not fire Tyler Reddick either. RPM operates out of RCR’s shop and RCR could use their alliance with Germain and double their partnership with Petty and put Dillon over there. 

Silly Season is going to start to speed up now. 

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