Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has announced that driver Daniel Suarez will join the organization and pilot the No. 41 Ford in 2019.
The 2019 season will be Suarez's third year in the NASCAR Cup Series and first with SHR. He won the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship before moving up to the Cup Series.
Suarez joined Joe Gibbs Racing and made 72 starts in 2017-18.
"This is the best birthday present I could ask for," Suarez said in a statement. "We've all seen how competitive Stewart-Haas Racing is. All of their drivers won last year and all of them advanced deep into the playoffs. This is the opportunity every driver wants, and now I have it. I want to deliver for this team, our partners in Haas Automation, ARRIS and Ford and, ultimately, for me. We have everything we need to be successful."
Suarez, who was born in Monterrey, Mexico, began his racing career in 2002 when he competed in go-karts. He moved up the ranks, eventually moving to the U.S. for the Xfinity Series.
Suarez was the 2015 Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year before his championship run the next year, and became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race after his victory on June 11, 2016, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
"In each series Daniel has raced in, he's advanced quickly from rookie to race winner," SHR co-owner Tony Stewart said in a statement. "In four years, he went from the K&N Series to the NASCAR Cup Series. In between, he won an Xfinity Series championship, and he did it all while learning a new language and a new culture. He's dedicated, he's talented and we're proud to have him as a key part of our race team."
Suarez and the Stewart-Haas Racing team begin the upcoming season with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17.