The long-awaited announcement naming the driver of the No. 41 car has arrived. And the driver of that car in 2019 is no surprise.
Stewart-Haas Racing said Monday that Daniel Suarez would join the team in 2019. Suarez takes the place of Kurt Busch, who moved over to Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 1 car in 2019. Busch replaces Jamie McMurray, who won’t drive full-time this season.
Suarez moved to the Cup Series in 2017 after Carl Edwards’ abrupt retirement following a crash in the final race of the 2016 season while racing for the title. Suarez, the 2016 Xfinity Series champion, was set to continue his career in the Xfinity Series but was tabbed to replace Edwards at Joe Gibbs Racing less than two months before the 2017 season began.
Suarez’s Cup Series career never took off as teammates like Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin won races. Suarez had just four top-five finishes and 21 top-10 finishes in 2017 and 2018. He didn’t make the playoffs in each of those two seasons.
The relative struggles of Suarez and the success of Erik Jones in the No. 20 car in 2018 meant Suarez was the odd man out after the shutdown of Furniture Row Racing. The JGR-aligned team said it wouldn’t field a car for Martin Truex Jr. in 2019 and that left the 2017 Cup Series champion without a ride. JGR moved to bring Truex and his crew chief Cole Pearn into the fold and Suarez made way for Truex.
As Truex moves from one title-contending team to another, so does Suarez. All four Stewart-Haas Racing cars made the playoffs in 2018 and it’s not unfathomable to think Suarez has a serious shot for his first playoff berth in 2019. Especially with one fewer title-worthy team in the Cup Series.
Suarez will be sponsored by Arris at SHR like he was at JGR. Bass Pro Shops moved over with Truex from Furniture Row and JGR said last week that Bass Pro would be a primary sponsor for Truex in over 20 races in 2019.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Robinson: Keeping Jason Garrett paid off for Jerry Jones
• Warriors-Kings combine to set history for most 3-pointers in NBA game
• 19-year-old Cal DB dies after collapsing during workout
• Deshaun Watson’s streak ends in loss to Colts