Daniel Suarez’s somewhat unexpected championship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season ignited discussion of a move to the Cup series but it appears he’ll remain where he is – for now.
“It’s going to be pretty quick we’ll be going to Cup,” Suarez’s team owner, Joe Gibbs, said following the Mexican driver’s win in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I think it’s in Daniel's hands, but obviously, he’s performed so well.
“It’s hard to get all that organized, but we’re working – that’s going to be our end game. That’s what we’re going to be working for.”
Defending Xfinity crown
On Saturday, a team spokesman for Joe Gibbs Racing told Motorsport.com the organization’s current plans have Suarez competing full-time in the Xfinity series again next season.
The championship made Suarez, a 24-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico, the first foreign-born champion of one of NASCAR’s three national series – Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Trucks.
In 68 career Xfinity starts, he has a championship, three wins, six poles and 27 top-five and 45 top-10 finishes. He also owns a victory in the Truck series.
After winning the Truck series championship last season, JGR teammate Erik Jones moved full-time to the Xfinity series this season and was the No. 1 seed in the Chase when it began.
Jones ended up finishing fourth in the series standings but will move full-time in 2017 to the Cup series, driving for Furniture Row Racing on loan from JGR for at least one season.
Moving up to Cup
Following his race victory and championship at Homestead, Suarez admitted he also hoped for a move to Cup.
“At the end of the day, that’s the goal, to move with the big guys and to learn from the big guys,” Suarez said. “Xfinity obviously is a great series where you get to race with some of the big guys and most of the time with the most important drivers from Cup, but you never race with all of them.
“So, I’m pretty sure that the Cup car is going to be different, and to race with all those guys at the same time is going to be even more difficult.
“But who knows? We have to, like I said before, in the last months and early today, we have to focus on today, and tomorrow is going to take care of itself.”