We had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools Day. But it’s legitimate. This morning, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that next year their four-car team will be running Fords. The organization, since its inception has run Chevrolets. The four-car team will compete with Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines.
Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford in 2017
“We are thrilled to be able to add a championship-level team like Stewart-Haas Racing to our Ford NASCAR program,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president and Chief Technical Officer, Ford Motor Company.
“Tony Stewart and Gene Haas have the same passion for winning that we do, and bring a strong stable of drivers and personnel that fit into what we’re trying to do in the sport.”
“I am proud of our association with Chevrolet as they helped build our organization into the team it is today,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner, Stewart-Haas Racing.
“This new partnership with Ford allows us to strengthen our position in the sport and ensure the long-term stability and success for everyone who is a part of Stewart-Haas Racing.”
The timing is interesting — with just one race done in 2016, SHR and Ford have announced plans for next year. It’s early days, but it will be interesting to see how the Chevy partnership with SHR works for the remainder of the 2016 season.
Initial thoughts on this one is that this was a huge kept secret in the garage. There were no rumblings of this going down. The other consideration is money. Ford Racing must have made a huge offer to SHR to bring the team over to Ford. But also, how will it affect the constant powerhouse of Hendrick Motorsports. The partnership of SHR and HMS has been a fruitful partnership.
Kevin Harvick has raced his entire Sprint Cup career in Chevrolet, first with Richard Childress Racing and then with SHR. This will be his first run in the blue-oval manufacturer.
It also means that Clint Bowyer, who will replace Tony Stewart in the No. 14 for 2017, will be driving his third manufacturer in three years — Toyota in 2015 for Michael Waltrip Racing, Chevrolet in 2016 for HScott Motorsports and now Ford for SHR in 2017.
SHR has scheduled a press conference later this morning.