Major Setback as Tony Stewart & Co. Decide to Shut Down a Racing Team

Published 12/20/2023, 6:56 PM EST

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The digital arm of Stewart-Haas Racing- Stewart-Haas Racing eSports- kicked off in January 2021 with a bang, unveiling their new lineup for the Coca-Cola iRacing Series. They had Dylan Duval returning for another lap with the team and Graham Bowlin, who later on tagged out, making way for Steven Wilson to take the wheel.

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Right from the very beginning, the team was on a roll. Evidence? Stewart-Haas Gaming aced the first-ever eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship. They pulled off this epic win during a live face-off on October 23, right at the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina. But despite all the wins and achievements, word on the street is that they’ve decided to hit the pause button on their eRacing game. Why?

SHR eSports will shut down its operations in 2024!

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Tony Stewart’s team made the news public through a Twitter post with a caption that read, “Thank you to @DDuval42 and @swilson3_ for your dedication to SHR eSports over the years.” The post also had a picture attached to it with the declaration:

“After much deliberation, we have decided to shut down our eSports operation in 2024. We want to thank Dylan Duval and Steven Wilson for how they represented out team and partners. From the 2023 championship to numerous top-5s, top-10s and wins, our team enjoyed much success thanks to them.”

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“We are incredibly proud of their effort and success, and we wish Dylan Steven the best in their future endeavors.”

But why was this step necessary? There’s been a lot of buzz about this. Some folks think it might be because the eNASCAR gamers aren’t household names, except for Kirwan, making it tough to attract sponsors and move merchandise. Others think it could be that running an iRacing team without seeing much in return could be a bit too much to handle. Then some reckon that eSports, in general, can be a real drain on the finances, like pouring money into a bottomless pit.

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The declaration was a shocker because Steven Wilson and Co. went on to win the 2023 title. And 2024 would have marked him as the defending champion. Nevertheless, Stewart-Haas eSports emulated great efforts in the virtual world, where sim technology provided a visceral experience that amplified the grit and determination of NASCAR drivers in the real world. Just in 2019, they were able to pull an impressive yet nail-biting finish to their season. 

Inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship in 2019 came down to a tiebreaker

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In October 2019, Stewart-Haas Gaming won the inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship at ISM Raceway. The finale consisted of two 70-lap races—one for the PlayStation 4 league and another for the Xbox One group—with 14 drivers competing in each. All of the action took place live in NASCAR Plaza’s Studio 43 in Charlotte.

In a tiebreaker, Stewart-Haas Gaming equated with Leavine Family Racing with 4,079 points apiece in the final standings. Ultimately, it was laps led that became the determining factor that presented SHG the trophy.

We made it happen,” said Jake Morris, the voice of Stewart-Haas Gaming. “We’re champions, baby—again.

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Brandyn Gritton helped deliver the inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship to Stewart-Haas eSports. Gritton, who is a Kokomo, Indiana native, previously dominated the PlayStation 4 race, leading 58 of the 70 laps. Josh Harbin took over second place with four laps to go, but Gritton was too far ahead for Harbin to catch up. Gritton had six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in that league.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

892Articles

One take at a time

Controversies, gossip, and breakneck speeds? Count me in! While F1 has its charm, NASCAR helps me relive those "Roadrash" gaming days. My favorite among the drivers has to be Tyler Reddick. The 23XI Racing pilot is not only likable but also a complete beast when he is on track, more specifically, road courses.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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