Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia

Stewart-Haas Racing to shut down NASCAR Cup Series operation

Stewart-Haas Racing, a four-car team with two NASCAR Cup Series championships, will shut down at the conclusion of the 2024 season.

Chase Briscoe, Stewart Haas Racing, Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang, Ryan Preece, Stewart Haas Racing, HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

On Tuesday, team co-owners Gene Haas and Tony Stewart released a joint statement explaining their decision to shutter the organization after 15 years.

“We have made the difficult decision to close Stewart-Haas Racing at the conclusion of the 2024 season. It is a decision that did not come easily, nor was it made quickly. Racing is a labor-intensive, humbling sport. It requires unwavering commitment and vast resources, with a 365-day mindset to be better than everyone else. It’s part of what makes success so rewarding.

“But the commitment needed to extract maximum performance while providing sustainability is incredibly demanding, and we’ve reached a point in our respective personal and business lives where it’s time to pass the torch.

"We’re proud of all the wins and championships we’ve earned since joining together in 2009, but even more special is the culture we built and the friendships we forged as we committed to a common cause – winning races and collecting trophies. That is the same commitment we made to our personnel, our partners and our fans coming into this year, and that commitment will remain through the season finale at Phoenix.

“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for all of our employees, and we will work diligently to assist them during this transition to find new opportunities beyond the 2024 race season.”

The charters?

Tuesday’s statement made no mention of the four charters Hass and Stewart currently hold in the Cup Series.

The charters, created with the start of the 2016 season, guarantees a team entry in all 36 points-paying races each year and sets a minimum guaranteed payout for each race. The payouts can change based on where the team ranks in owner points.

However, the current charter agreement expires at the conclusion of this year and there is yet no new deal. That means, in essence, there are no charters for SHR to sell until an agreement is reached.

Since the charters were introduced, they have increased more than 10 times in value. Spire Motorsports purchased Live Fast Motorsports’ charter reportedly for around $40 million last year.

There has been an air of uncertainty around SHR’s future for some time.

Once a dominant force in the Cup Series, the team has failed to win a Cup race in nearly two years. When Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola retired from full-time competition at the end of last year, major backers Busch Beer and Smithfield left as well.

The team entered 2024 with four young drivers and just one Cup win between them. Although they have shown slight overall improvement in comparison to last year, the team is still nowhere near where a four-car operation is expected to be.

Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are the only other teams that possesses four charters. Both have won several races and hold seven of the top eight spots in the championship standings. The highest SHR driver is Chase Briscoe in 16th.

The news leaves unclear futures for Briscoe, as well as his team-mates Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, and Ryan Preece. There’s also intrigue involving the future of SHR’s veteran crew chiefs, especially Rodney Childers, who has scored 40 wins from atop the pit box, earning the bulk of SHR’s victories with Harvick. Previously, he guided Michael Waltrip Racing to its first-ever win with David Reutimann in 2009, as well as its last victory with Brian Vickers in 2013.

SHR has 69 wins at the Cup level and last visited Victory Lane with Harvick at Richmond Raceway in August 2022. Stewart delivered the team its first championship in 2011 while Harvick earned the team's second title in 2014.

The fall-off for SHR has been staggering. It won 26 races between 2018 and 2020, only to win a total of four in the three seasons that followed.

In 2020, all four SHR drivers made the playoffs. In 2023, three of their four teams missed the cut. Harvick was the only driver to make the 16-driver field last year but was eliminated after the first round.

Lingering questions

The loss of the SHR organization would also leave a significant hole in Ford Performance’s NASCAR Cup program. SHR moved from Chevrolet to Ford beginning with the 2017 season and has become one of the manufacturer’s most successful organizations.

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

SHR also operates a two-car Xfinity Series program with Cole Custer and Riley Herbst as the drivers. An SHR spokesman said the Xfinity program is expected to continue to operate in 2025 in some form, but not as a SHR entity.

Custer, 26, won the Xfinity championship in 2023 and remains in contention again this year. Herbst, 25, picked up his first series win last year driving for SHR and remains in the playoff hunt this season.

 
Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Filling in for Larson at Coke 600 "a lot of fun" for Allgaier
Next article Chase Briscoe hopes to "land on his feet" after SHR closure

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia