NASCAR Cup’s playoff season has just begun, but the NASCAR Silly Season is in full swing with the retirement of Jimmie Johnson, the number 48 car is open with car owner Rick Hendrick looking for a new driver.

It has also been announced that Erik Jones will not return to the Joe Gibbs Racing number 20 car.

And in the past week, it was revealed that Bubba Wallace would not be returning to drive the number 43 car Richard Petty Motorsports.

On September 15, it was announced that Daniel Suarez would not be returning to drive the number 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing car next season.

This is Suarez’ fourth season as a NASCAR Cup Series driver, in that time he has driven for three different teams – Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Gaunt Brothers Racing.

While he is currently unsure of the future in NASCAR, Suarez said, “I want to wish Gaunt Brothers Racing nothing but the best for the future.”

Team owner Marty Gaunt said, “the entire team is very appreciative of the effort Daniel has put forth.  He has helped build the foundation we need for next season as well as 2022 when the NextGen car arrives. We’re both committed to earning as many points as possible in these last eight races together and finishing the season strong.”

Gaunt added, “it’s a big jump to go from a part-time schedule to a full-time schedule, especially this season as we all dealt with the challenges of a global pandemic, but we’ve made it work.  Our strategic partnership with Toyota has been a critical and valuable asset, and that’s evident by the reliability we’ve been able to achieve this year. We’re laying important groundwork for improved goals next year that, ultimately, sets us up for success with the Next Gen car in 2022. We’re taking a methodical, long-term approach to our future and the next driver of our number 96 Toyota will be an integral part of that development.”

feature photo credit: By Morrison_2001 –, CC BY 2.0,