With the retirement of Kevin Harvick and their team struggling, Stewart-Haas Racing will be erasing their NACAR Connections: Team shutting down at the end of 2024 season

Championship-winning NASCAR team to shut down after 2024 season
By Samuel Stubbs, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

After much speculation by fans and pundits alike, Stewart-Haas Racing will officially close its doors at the conclusion of the 2024 NASCAR season.

Team owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, confirming rumors that had long been swirling around the NASCAR garage area.

“We have made the difficult decision to close Stewart-Haas Racing at the conclusion of the 2024 season,” the statement said. “We have tremendous respect for all our employees, and we will work diligently to assist them during this transition to find new opportunities beyond the 2024 season.”

Gene Haas started the team in 2002 as Haas CNC Racing, with NASCAR champion Tony Stewart joining the fold in 2009 as an owner-driver. Stewart won the team’s first NASCAR championship in 2011, with Kevin Harvick winning the team’s final Cup Series title in 2014.

Current Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer scored the team’s last race win and championship as of May 2024, with Custer winning the Xfinity Series championship race at Phoenix in 2023.

With the shutdown official, Stewart-Haas will sell all four of their Cup Series charters, with Trackhouse Racing, 23XI Racing, and Front Row Motorsports all considered prospective buyers for one charter each.

According to NASCAR insider Bob Pockrass, it would not be a surprise to see SHR’s Xfinity Series team, which currently houses driver Riley Herbst and Cole Custer, to be merged with another team or entity.

With all four charters being sold, the move also means that current Cup Series drivers Chase Briscoe, Josh Berry, Noah Gragson and Ryan Preece are all without rides heading into the 2025 season, though it’s possible that they could follow one of the team’s former charters to its new owner.

Both Berry and Gragson joined the team at the start of the 2024 season, with Preece joining the team in 2023 and Briscoe driving for the organization in the Cup Series since 2022.

Four drivers being without Cup Series rides will certainly make NASCAR free agency fun to watch, and the future of Custer and Herbst — the former of which could see a return to the Cup Series — will be interesting as well, as both have proven to be championship threats in the Xfinity Series.

After winning nine races with Kevin Harvick in 2020, the team experienced a sharp decline in performance starting in 2021, and Harvick’s retirement at the conclusion of the 2023 season meant Stewart-Haas had lost their most consistent driver.

While Briscoe is on the playoff bubble through the first 14 Cup Series events of the 2024 season, the team is still nowhere close to being a true title threat.

Team owners Gene Haas and Tony Stewart also seemed to be increasingly distant from the team, with both men rarely showing up to race weekends. It seems that the team’s poor performance, combined with apparent disinterest from the men that provided financial backing for the organization has culminated in its impending extinction.

It’s a sad day for both fans and employees of Stewart-Haas Racing, but it seems like the writing has been on the wall for a while. However, the writing is no longer in pencil, but in permanent marker.

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