Daniel Suarez, walking through the Darlington garage with a patch over the spot where a Subway logo used to appear on his firesuit, claimed Saturday he did not know why the sandwich chain suddenly ended its sponsorship.
ESPN.com’s Bob Pockrass reported earlier Saturday that Subway had immediately ended its contract with Joe Gibbs Racing — this despite having been scheduled to sponsor Suarez’s No. 19 car at Talladega Superspeedway next month.
The company told Pockrass in an oddly worded statement the sponsorship “had” to be terminated “due to circumstances beyond our control.”
But Suarez said the decision wasn’t something he could control, either.
“That is nothing in my control and there’s not a lot I can do about it,” Suarez told me and Pockrass after qualifying.
The Cup Series rookie told us he found out about Subway’s decision on Friday. He had been out of the country for the NASCAR off weekend and “didn’t know a lot about” what was going on.
Asked if the decision was related to something he did, Suarez said: “I don’t really know. Like I said, I just found out yesterday — and on a race weekend, I don’t really have time to think about that. I have to think about the race.”
So was Suarez sad or upset about the decision?
“That’s part of racing,” he said. “Sponsorship comes and sponsorship leaves. There’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t really know the reasons, so there’s not a lot I can add to it.”
Subway, which had sponsored Suarez predecessor Carl Edwards, jumped on board with the Mexican driver at the start of the season. The company even featured Suarez in a commercial, which was part of its four-race sponsorship.
“We are excited about the future with Daniel Suarez!” Subway chief advertising officer Chris Carroll said in a February statement.
JGR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.