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Holy Smokes! ... Stewart-Haas switching to Ford for 2017 is a huge coup for Blue Oval Featured

Posted On Tuesday, 23 February 2016 19:00 Written by
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Put this one on the list of "things I never thought I'd see happen"

Breaking news out of Dearborn is that Stewart-Haas Racing, tied to Chevy since its inception, is now switching to Ford starting in 2017. Drivers Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch will sport the Blue Oval starting at Daytona next year, upsetting the apple cart big time in the world of NASCAR's top series.


Considering the long ties SHR has to Chevy (and Hendrick Motorsports), this seems like a bombshell, and it is to some extent.

But upon further contemplation, it is somewhat logical. Joe Gibbs Racing made a similar move to Toyota a few years back, and the results have been noticeable (see Kyle Busch's championship, Denny's Daytona win, etc.). Stewart-Haas has seen success with Chevy (titles for Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick), but in the end the team was always going to be lower on the chain of command than Hendrick Motorsports.

By moving to Ford, they can now jockey with Team Penske for who is the big dog in the Ford stable. Roush Fenway Racing could also see a boost out of this, gaining from having more Ford teammates to learn from, or be left in the shadows of Penske and SHR -- we'll see how it shakes out in 2017, but it's sure to be interesting.

One thing is for sure: Chevy has to be stinging today to see a team that it helped win championships jump ship, and will want to try to recruit others to replace the void left by SHR if at all possible. The bowtie has a lot more competition now than it did in the past, during Jimmie Johnson's seemingly endless title run. They have to recapture that magic or risk losing many future titles to Ford and Toyota.

It appears Silly Season has begun early this year; little did we know it would involve manufacturers, not drivers, at the outset.

Stay tuned for updates on this major story. Below is full press release from Ford Performance on the big news.


"DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 24, 2016 – Ford Performance announced today Stewart-Haas Racing will switch to Ford as its auto manufacturer partner starting with the 2017 NASCAR season.

The multiyear agreement means that, beginning with Daytona Speedweeks in February 2017, the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing team will race the Ford Fusion with Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines.
“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.”
“We have said very clearly that we are not in NASCAR just to race, but to win races and championships,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “We believe the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 will give our program a major boost in terms of being in contention for both drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships every year.
“We believe that our NASCAR engineering experience and tools match up very well with the expertise and personnel that Stewart-Haas Racing has in house right now, and that we will both benefit from this partnership going forward.”

Stewart-Haas Racing will join a Ford NASCAR lineup for 2017 that includes Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Front Row Motorsports. Roush Yates Engines is Ford’s technical partner for NASCAR race engines.

Stewart-Haas Racing will continue its current manufacturer relationship throughout the 2016 season.
Stewart-Haas Racing is a NASCAR championship organization that features drivers Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch. Stewart, Harvick and Busch have won Sprint Cup titles and Patrick was a winner in the Indycar Series before transitioning to NASCAR. Stewart-Haas Racing has captured 30 points-paying wins, 26 poles and two titles since its inception in 2009.

Clint Bowyer will replace Stewart in the No. 14 car in 2017, as Stewart will retire as a NASCAR driver following the 2016 season. Stewart and Haas will remain co-owners of Stewart-Haas Racing."

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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