BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - MARCH 16: Josh Berry, driver of the #4 SunnyD Ford, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series  Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2024 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) | Getty Images
BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - MARCH 16: Josh Berry, driver of the #4 SunnyD Ford, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2024 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Will Stewart-Haas Racing downsize next year?

Stewart-Haas Racing’s future has become one of the most watched topics in NASCAR, with sponsorship departures and on-track struggles raising questions about whether it could downsize its four-car Cup Series operation as soon as next year.

But last year, the team lost what was likely low eight figures in annual sponsorship revenue with departures by major blue-chip brands Anheuser-Busch and Smithfield Foods, along with the departure of the smaller but still notable brand Hunt Brothers Pizza.

Compounding matters was that the team’s four cars all missed the playoffs in 2023, and its foremost star, Harvick, retired after the season. Moreover, the team’s big-money deal with Ford expires after this year, which could lead to another dramatic reduction in revenue for the team.

In a welcome development, SHR has gotten off to a better start on the track so far in 2024. But despite that, industry executives across the sport have identified SHR as one of the teams, if not the team, most likely to sell a charter or multiple charters before 2025. It could not be confirmed whether SHR has already started exploring the possibility of selling charters, but the possibility of the team doing so has become a hot topic in the garage in recent weeks, according to more than half a dozen industry executives familiar with the matter. SHR declined comment.

Teams that are thought to be interested in possible expansion include Trackhouse Racing, 23XI Racing and Legacy Motor Club. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Xfinity Series team, JR Motorsports, has also been exploring the idea of buying a charter in recent years as it weighs joining NASCAR’s premier series.

Sports Business Journal