Monday, July 22, 2024

Stewart-Haas Racing is closing its NASCAR Cup Series program

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This Tuesday, the team’s co-owners Jane Haas And Tony Stuart They issued a joint statement explaining their decision to close the NASCAR Cup organization after 15 years.

“We have made the difficult decision to close the Stewart-Haas Racing Team at the end of the 2024 season. It is a decision that was not easy or quick. Racing is a sport that requires a lot of work and humility. It requires unwavering commitment. Vast resources, with a 365-day mentality to be better than everyone else.” “This is part of what makes success so rewarding.”

“But the commitment required to maximize performance while providing sustainability is extremely difficult, and we have reached a point in our personal and business lives when it is time to hand over the baton.”

“We are proud of all the wins and championships we have achieved since joining in 2009, but even more special is the culture we have built and the friendships we have built with a commitment to a common cause: winning races and bringing together “It is the same commitment we made to our employees, partners and fans this year, and that will continue.” Commitment until the end of the season in Phoenix.”

“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for all of our employees, and we will work hard to help them through this transition period to find new opportunities after the 2024 racing season.”

Last race:

What to do with Stewart-Haas Racing’s charter in NASCAR?

Tuesday’s statement did not mention the four charters Haas and Stewart currently have in the Cup Series.

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The charters, established at the start of the 2016 season, guarantee a team’s entry into all 36 points-awarding races each year and set a guaranteed minimum payout for each race. Payouts may change based on a team’s point ranking.

However, the current lease expires at the end of this year and there is still no new agreement. This means, in essence, that SHR cannot sell its charters until an agreement is reached.

Since the introduction of charters, their value has increased more than 10-fold Live fast motorsport For about $40 million last year.

For some time, there has been an air of uncertainty surrounding the future of SHR.

The team, once a dominant force in the Cup Series, has failed to win a Cup race in nearly two years. When Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola retired from full-time competition late last year, the main sponsors, Bush Bear and SmithfieldThey did that too.

The team entered 2024 with four young drivers and had only one Cup win between them. Although they showed a slight overall improvement compared to last year, the team is still far from what would be expected from a four-car team.

Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are the only other teams with four charters. Both have won numerous races and occupy seven of the top eight positions in the championship standings. The top-ranked SHR driver is Chase Briscoe, 16th.

The news leaves the future unclear for Briscoe, as well as teammates Noah Gragson, Josh Perry and Ryan Brees. There is also curiosity surrounding the future of veteran SHR crew chiefs, in particular Rodney ChildersWho has racked up 40 wins from the top of boxing, with most of SHR’s successes with Harvick. Previously, he led Michael Waltrip Racing to its first win with David Reutimann in 2009, as well as its last win with Brian Vickers in 2013.

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SHR has 69 NASCAR Cup victories and last visited Victory Lane with Harvick at Richmond Raceway in August 2022. Stewart gave the team its first championship in 2011, while Harvick won the team’s second title in 2014.

The downfall of SHR has been amazing. He won 26 races between 2018 and 2020, and won just four over the next three seasons.

In 2020, all four SHR drivers participated in qualifying. In 2023, three of its four cars failed to qualify. Harvick was the only driver to make the 16-driver field last year, but was eliminated after the first round.

What will happen now with SHR?

The loss of the SHR organization will also leave a big hole in the NASCAR Cup schedule. Ford Performance. SHR moved from Chevrolet to Ford starting in the 2017 season and has become one of the manufacturer’s most successful enterprises.

SHR’s current deal with Ford was scheduled to expire at the end of this season.

SHR also runs a two-car program Xfinity Series With Cole Custer and Riley Herbst as pilots. An SHR spokesperson said the Xfinity program is expected to continue operating in 2025 in some form, but not as an SHR entity.

The 26-year-old Custer won the Xfinity Championship in 2023 and is still in contention this year. Herbst, 25, earned his first win in the class last year driving an SHR, and remains in the hunt for the playoffs this season.

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