Daniel Suárez is on the move again, and he’s heading to a new team. On Wednesday, Trackhouse Entertainment Group announced Suárez will drive the newly-formed #99 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. The project is led by former driver Justin Marks, and will run all thirty-six races next year after acquiring a charter from Spire Motorsports.
“The formation of a top-level NASCAR Cup Series team has been a dream of mine for a long time,” Marks said. “A lot of hard work has transpired to get us to this point and I don’t think we could’ve ended up with better partners in RCR and Chevrolet, and with a more passionate and committed driver than Daniel Suárez. Daniel’s drive and hunger to get to the top of this sport is palpable every time I am in his presence. We are building a team of winners and Daniel has delivered just about every time he’s sat in race winning equipment. It’s my job now to put a car underneath him that will carry him to the highest echelon of the sport.”
Suárez has turned into a bit of a journeyman since his departure from Joe Gibbs Racing after 2018. The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion has raced for three different teams in as many years, spending 2019 in the Ford camp with Stewart-Haas Racing before returning to Toyota with Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2020. After failing to qualify for the Daytona 500, Suárez has been consistent; excluding wrecks at the superspeedways (Daytona 2 and Talladega 2), he has been running at the end of every race and sits thirty-first in points with three top-twenty finishes and a best run of eighteenth on two occasions.
In September, he announced he would not return to the team, with Trackhouse set to be his fourth different team since moving up to the Cup Series in 2017. As of Wednesday, GBR has not announced a successor. With the move to Trackhouse, Suárez will have raced for all three manufacturers currently in NASCAR.
“I see in Trackhouse a great opportunity for me with a very strong group of people that share the same vision, commitment and goals that I have,” Suárez commented. “Justin has been involved in the racing world for over 20 years and understands the ins and outs of the sport both as a driver and from the business side. I have learned a lot in the last few years and have been very fortunate to be a part of very good organizations. I have learned that this sport is about people, and I know we are going to work very hard to put together a talented team. Furthermore, getting the support from a strong manufacturer like Chevrolet will be a key to our success. My goal is simple, I want to win races.”
Trackhouse was formed in August by Marks, a former NASCAR driver and road racing veteran, as both a racing team and a program to help minority and underrepresented youth groups in the United States break into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). With NASCAR as its base, the team will partner with academic institutions and community groups to support STEM education.
“I believe deeply in the direction NASCAR’s executive group is taking the sport,” continued Marks. “There is a disruptive and courageous vision for the future taking place that is displayed by the incredible 2021 racing schedule and new ways of looking at a sustainable economic model culminating in the debut of the 2022 Next Gen car that, in my opinion, will lay the groundwork for a dramatic value proposition for future owners, media partners, stakeholders, and sponsors for decades to come. Everything Trackhouse will be doing in 2021 from a business development standpoint will be in the context of positioning ourselves to win races and championships as NASCAR embarks on a new chapter in 2022 and beyond.”
The team will field Chevrolets in partnership with Richard Childress Racing, effectively serving a similar role to Germain Racing, which will shut down after 2020. Trackhouse also acquired a charter from Spire, which already has two others in addition to the one loaned to Trackhouse; while the origins of the third charter were not officially disclosed, it likely stemmed from Germain. Trackhouse President of Racing Operations Ty Norris was also an executive in Spire, along with the now-defunct. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Michael Waltrip Racing.
“Spire Motorsports has secured a third NASCAR charter and will lease a charter to Justin Marks and his organization, Trackhouse, as they endravor to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series next season,” said Spire co-owner T.J. Puchyr. “Spire currently remains committed to operating a two-car team in 2021. We’ve worked closely with Justin and his team for several years so we’re proud to help them get their program off the ground.”
Trackhouse is the second new team for the 2021 season, joining Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan’s new team. Incidentally, the Hamlin-Jordan team will field a car for Bubba Wallace, who currently races for Childress ally Richard Petty Motorsports.