Gaunt Brothers Racing has emerged as the front-runner to land Wallace for the 2021 season, Motorsport.com has realized. Wallace, 26, announced final week he would be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports on the tip of the year.
Gaunt Brothers is in its first season fielding a fulltime Cup team, at dispute with driver Daniel Suarez in the No. 96 Toyota. It has bought sizable backing from Toyota this year however minimal technical enhance on the chassis facet.
Suarez out of the No. 96
On Tuesday, nonetheless, Suarez and Gaunt announced the 2 sides had agreed to segment methods on the conclusion of the 2020 season. Suarez’s future stays unclear however Gaunt Brothers appears to be like situation to accept as true with a totally unique procure out about in 2021.
As soon as complete, a reorganization of Gaunt Brothers would consist of the acquisition of a structure, influx of recent investors, unique sponsors and expanded manufacturing enhance from Toyota, in step with extra than one sources who declined to talk on the describe as a result of the deal is now no longer complete.
Nonetheless, the extra capital funding could well perhaps build the group on a level similar to that of the feeble Furniture Row Racing, sources stated.
FRR won the Cup sequence championship in 2017 with driver Martin Truex Jr., while receiving chassis and engines as segment of a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. The team folded after the 2018 season.
Motorsport.com submitted several questions to Gaunt officials covering issues at the side of its hobby in at the side of Wallace as a driver and the addition of recent investors to the group in 2021.
A team spokesperson spoke back with following, “Gaunt Brothers Racing doesn’t focus on the phrases of its agreements, whether it’s in regard to personnel or partners.”
Nonetheless, in announcing Suarez’s departure on Tuesday, proprietor Marty Gaunt indicated his group remained dedicated to success in the Cup Sequence.
“We’re laying crucial groundwork for improved targets subsequent year that, in the extinguish, objects us up for success with the NextGen automobile in 2022,” he stated in a press launch.
“We’re taking a methodical, prolonged-term capability to our future and the next driver of our No. 96 Toyota will be an integral segment of that pattern.”
Expanded Toyota enhance?
David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Trend, stated Toyota has the ability to manufacture greater their enhance in 2021 given the unexpected departure of Leavine Household Racing and would entertain the addition of a brand unique team or groups in 2021 “supplied the splendid conditions.”
He stated the self-discipline would be sophisticated, nonetheless, given the one-year final of the Cup automobile using its recent Gen-6 mannequin automobile sooner than transitioning to the Next Gen automobile in 2022. Teams were before every part scheduled to transfer to the Next Gen automobile in 2021 however the COVID-19 pandemic induced a one-year prolong.
“We’ve talked to a vary of team house owners this summer season about alternatives, however we build now no longer accept as true with anything else to focus on or protest right away,” Wilson stated.
Sources informed Motorsport.com the extra investor enhance at Gaunt Brothers could well perhaps consist of the broadly rumored involvement in team possession by Cup sequence massive name Denny Hamlin, one more Toyota driver who competes at JGR.
Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and at dispute enjoying one of the easiest seasons of his career, stated final month he used to be engaged on several delivery-ended initiatives however had nothing to imminently protest when asked about the different of buying into a recent Cup team.
“I’m consistently having a procure out about at avenues that can well perhaps enable me to preserve in the game beyond riding. Undoubtedly, it’s a sport that I accept as true with in,” he stated. “Undoubtedly, the monetary mannequin hopefully will in finding better in the following couple of years for the team house owners, regardless if I’m in it or now no longer.”
At the time Hamlin used to be questioned a pair of doable possession feature, extra than one reviews had linked his ability funding to a team that can well perhaps consist of Wallace as the driver.
In a video conference with newshounds earlier this month, NASCAR President Steve Phelps stated it used to be doable for a recent driver of a four-automobile Cup team to withhold possession in a single more team, however that NASCAR would must be sure comely competition. In the mean time, Phelps stated Hamlin had now no longer made an official query to NASCAR for team possession.
Wallace, one of the best paunchy-time African-American driver in the Cup Sequence, has been among the most vocal leading NASCAR’s response to racial injustice protests across the nation this summer season.
He has recently signed several prominent sponsorship affords at the side of Beats by Dre, Columbia Sports clothing, DoorDash and Money App.
Wallace has had his top season in Cup since his fulltime debut in 2018. He has one top-five and five top-10 finishes and is at dispute ranked 23rd in the sequence standings. He additionally owns six career wins in the NASCAR Truck Sequence and six in Sufficient&N Respectable Sequence East (now ARCA East).