Home Sports NASCAR: Gene Haas will keep a charter for a Cup Series team following closure of Stewart-Haas Racing

NASCAR: Gene Haas will keep a charter for a Cup Series team following closure of Stewart-Haas Racing

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Gene Haas of the USA and the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team arrive on track during the Sprint Shootout/Sprint prior to the US F1 Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas on October 21 2023 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Song Haiyuan/MB Media/Getty Images)

Gene Haas maintains a NASCAR Cup Series charter for the 2025 season. (Photo by Song Haiyuan/MB Media/Getty Images)

Gene Haas retains one of his team’s four statutes.

Haas said Thursday it would operate one Cup car and two Xfinity Series cars. The announcement from co-owner Stewart-Haas Racing comes weeks after SHR said it would close at the end of the season. SHR currently fields Cup Series cars for Josh Berry, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson and Ryan Preece and Xfinity Series cars for Cole Custer and Riley Herbst.

The new team will be called Haas Factory Team. Haas also owns a Formula 1 team that currently fields cars for Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

“My commitment to motorsports has not changed, only the scope of my involvement,” Haas said in a statement. “Operating a four-car Cup Series team has become too arduous, but at the same time, I still need a platform to promote Haas Automation and grow HaasTooling.com.

“Maintaining my presence in Cup Series allows Haas Automation to compete at the highest level of NASCAR, which is important to our customers and dealers. “The Xfinity Series program provides a complete weekend experience for our guests and brings greater depth and scale to our overall operation.”

Haas did not announce any drivers for the 2025 season, but it is fair to assume that Custer could be a candidate for the Cup car. Custer previously drove in the Cup Series for SHR and his father, Joe Custer, is a Haas executive. Haas’ long-time racing operations and will be president of the new team.

Stewart-Haas Racing was formed in 2009 when Tony Stewart left Joe Gibbs Racing. As part of his departure from JGR, Stewart gained an interest in what was formerly known as Haas CNC Racing.

The team immediately went from a straggler to a serious contender when Stewart and Ryan Newman were SHR’s first drivers. Stewart won his third Cup title in 2011 and became the first owner driver to win a Cup title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.

SHR won a second Cup title under Kevin Harvick in 2014, but has taken a step back in recent seasons. Harvick was the team’s stalwart before retiring at the end of the 2023 season and SHR lost longtime sponsors Busch and Smithfield ahead of the 2024 season.

Haas’ decision to maintain a contract means SHR still has two contracts up for sale ahead of the 2025 season. Front Row Motorsports has already acquired one of SHR’s rights, and the other two could be on the market for some time as NASCAR and their team owners are looking for an extension of their franchise model. The current charter agreement expires at the end of the 2024 season and there does not appear to have been much progress in negotiations between NASCAR and the teams during the first half of the 2024 season.

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