| NASCAR.com |
|From the left: SHR's Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, |
co-owner/driver Tony Stewart and co-owner Gene Haas. (Bob Leverone)
Ford is joining forces with Stewart-Haas Racing starting in the 2017 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season after the team signed a multiyear deal to switch manufacturers and engines (Roush Yates Engines).
The team currently consists of Tony Stewart, a three-time champion, 2014 champion Kevin Harvick, 2004 champion Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick and drives Chevrolets.
"I am proud of our association with Chevrolet as they helped build our organization into the team it is today," said SHR co-owner Stewart in a team statement. "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."
NASCAR released the following statement after the news broke:
"Stewart-Haas Racing has been a top-tier team in our sport for many years, and we wish them well in their future endeavor with Ford Performance. Our sport is rooted in healthy competition and NASCAR is fortunate to have three strong auto manufacturer partners all committed to the common goals of winning and growing the sport. We know that SHR and Chevrolet will work together as hard as ever this season to win races and pursue their third Sprint Cup Championship together."
Ford also made a statement about the change:
"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."
SHR was founded in 2003 by Gene Haas as Haas CNC Racing. Stewart became a co-owner of the team in 2009. Stewart said 2016 will be his last as a full-time driver. Clint Bowyer, currently driving for HScott Motorsports, will replace Stewart in the No. 14 in 2017.