Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Stewart-Haas Racing today announced it has entered a partnership with Ford Performance to begin at the start of the 2017 NASCAR season. The multi-year agreement means that as of next year’s Daytona Speedweeks in February, the four-car SHR squad will be racing a Ford Fusion powered by Ford engines prepared by Roush-Yates.
“We are thrilled to be able to add a championship-level team like Stewart-Haas Racing to our Ford NASCAR program,” Raj Nair, Ford’s executive vice president and Chief Technical Officer, said in a prepared statement. “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.”
The deal means SHR drivers Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch will no longer be Chevrolet athletes. Clint Bowyer, who will replace Tony Stewart in the No. 14 car once the 44-year old retires at the end of the 2016, will also be making the transition from Chevy to Ford. The team will continue in its partnership with Chevy for the rest of 2016.
SHR will join other Ford teams on the NASCAR grid in flying the Blue Oval next year including Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Front Row Motorsports. Ford says the addition of SHR to their roster will increase their chances of success going forward.
“We have said very clearly that we are not in NASCAR just to race, but to win races and championships,” Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak said. “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.”