Daniel Suárez’s No. 96 Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) gets a “Red, White & Blue” facelift as he and his teammates join their fellow NASCAR Cup Series competitors for the series’ annual 600 Miles of Remembrance during Sunday night’s 61st renewal of the iconic Coca-Cola 600.
And the 28-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico, and his GBR brethren are proud to be honoring the memory of U.S. Army SPC Ronald David Rennison of Dubuque, Iowa, who was killed in action Feb. 25, 1991 along with 27 other individuals by a Scud missile strike in Dhahran in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Rennison’s name will appear on the windshield of Suarez’s No. 96 Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry (Red, White & Blue Edition) at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway as part of NASCAR’s remembrance of the men and women who gave their lives in active duty service defending our country. Fallen service members will be honored by featuring their names on the windshield of each NASCAR Cup Series car at Charlotte.
There is a personal connection between SPC Rennison, who was 22 at the time of his death, and the GBR Toyota team. His younger brother Randy was a high school friend of GBR road crew mechanic Barry Boeckenstedt. Randy Rennison served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed in Korea at the time of his brother’s death. The Rennisons are part of a long line of family members who have served or are currently active military. Randy Rennison retired in 2015 and now serves as executive director of the Dubuque County Veterans Affairs office.
It was a short time after SPC Rennison was called to active duty a second time – following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – that he was killed in action. He and his 475th Quartermaster Unit had just arrived in Saudi Arabia the day before the missile attack.
Suárez hopes to post his and GBR’s best finish to date in this, the team’s first full-time Cup Series season since it joined the NASCAR ranks a decade ago, while honoring the memory of SPC Rennison. In the series’ first racing events after the season was suspended for 10 weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Suárez and the No. 96 Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry posted finishes of 25th Sunday and 27th Wednesday night at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Those events introduced NASCAR’s new comprehensive health and safety plan that permits no fans, limited crew, strict social distancing, and mandated personal protective equipment and health screenings for all. The races also were run without prior practice or qualifying. Sunday night’s 600-miler at Charlotte will be the first and only event in the first batch of races since the hiatus that will be preceded by a qualifying session in the afternoon.
Taking another step forward in the evolution of his one-car team with ultimately high expectations is the goal for Suárez as he prepares to tackle one of the most grueling races on the NASCAR calendar, all while showing his deepest respect for the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for freedom.