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NASCAR Cup: Cole Custer promoted, Daniel Suarez out at SHR

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 09: Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Ford, walks to his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at ISM Raceway on November 09, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Stewart-Haas Racing is promoting Cole Custer to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020 to drive the No. 41 Ford, the race team announced Friday morning. He’ll replace Daniel Suarez. After reports of Custer’s promotion and Suarez’s firing Thursday, Suarez confirmed Thursday evening that he would not be with SHR next season.

“Cole has certainly earned his spot in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020,” Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart said. “He’s consistently running up front, leading laps and winning races. The level of competition increases dramatically in the NASCAR Cup Series, but it’s where Cole belongs after having proven himself in the Xfinity Series.”

Custer is among the four drivers who will contend for the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in that series’ season-finale Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Custer has nine-career Xfinity Series wins, seven coming this season. He was second in the series standings last year and has finished in the top-five in all three of his full-time seasons in the Xfinity Series.

“This is the moment I’ve worked for ever since I first started racing,” Custer said. “I’ve learned a lot in these last three years in the Xfinity Series, and to be able to stay within Stewart-Haas Racing will make a steep learning curve a little less steep. I know the people, the culture and what’s expected of me. I’m ready for this challenge.”

Custer made three Cup Series starts last season for Rick Ware Racing, posting a best finish of 25th in his series debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I was asked last year about this time what Cole needed to do to earn his place in the NASCAR Cup Series, and I said he needed to win,” SHR co-owner Gene Haas said. “Well, Cole has done that – a lot. He showed that he’s ready to compete at the next level, and we’re giving him that opportunity.”

This year is Suarez’s third full-time season in the Cup Series, his first with Stewart-Haas Racing after his release from Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2018 season to make room for Martin Truex Jr. there. Suarez will finish out the 2019 season, concluding Sunday at Homestead, in the No. 41. In his lone season with SHR, Suarez has four top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes, including two third-place finishes at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort World. His career-best finish was a second at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., last year with JGR.

“I’m here to confirm the bad news that some of you guys already know and some of you guys are trying to figure out that I won’t be back next year in the 41 car,” Suarez said in a video he posted to his Twitter account (@Daniel_SuarezG) Thursday evening.

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Posted by on November 15, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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