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via Getty

via Getty

There has been chatter about Stewart Haas Racing possibly parting ways with Ford once their deal wraps up in 2024. But, as of now, there’s nothing official out there. And the idea of jumping to another manufacturer, maybe Honda, sounds rather tempting, especially with Kevin Harvick hanging up his racing gloves and the RFK Racing team outperforming SHR lately. Could Ford be looking for more successful teams?

According to a NASCAR insider, making a switch like that isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

NASCAR insider asserts that Tony Stewart’s team might switch; it’s not going to be in 2025 though

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Since kicking off the 2017 NASCAR season, Stewart Haas has been rolling with Ford. Before that, they were all in with Chevrolet, getting their engines and chassis. But when they made the jump to Ford, they started to flex by making their own chassis and snagging engines from Ford instead. Part of the reason they switched gears was because they felt like they were always playing second fiddle to Hendrick Motorsports.

The topic of Stewart Haas Racing possibly leaving Ford popped up around the time they were talking up Berry’s move for the 2024 season. However, Tony Stewart, the big boss at Stewart Haas Racing, was quick to shut down any talk about swapping manufacturers then. But now, the rumor mill’s churning out stories left and right. The word is that they might be eyeing Honda for a fresh start next year. However, Jordan Bianchi threw in his two cents and said:

“These are not the things that you just announced, like, ‘Hey, we’re coming back next year.’ You’ve got to submit all of the stuff to NASCAR and NASCAR has to approve it, then you’ve got to do testing and all of this stuff. This is a process, and that process hasn’t even started yet to my knowledge unless NASCAR has kept it under wraps which I don’t think they have. So, yeah, at some point they may. It ain’t gonna be for 2025, though.”

Many are buzzing at the possibility of Stewart Haas Racing (SHR) making a switch, and here’s why: first off, their contract with Ford is about to run out at the end of this year. Secondly, it seems like Ford’s got some other hotshots in their corner now – Front Row Motorsports and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing are turning heads.

On the other hand, underdog team Front Row Motorsports, owned by Bob Jenkins, has stepped up their game. They snagged the 2021 Daytona 500 and Michael McDowell pulled off an incredible finish at Indy last year. Then we have Brad Keselowski, who after splitting from Team Penske, has been killing it with his driver Chris Buescher. He is leading a Roush-backed team that’s been on fire, making it into the top tier of Ford’s lineup, something they haven’t done since the elimination-style format kicked off in 2014.

NASCAR insider Jordan said, “Ford bumping Front Row up a level as Stewart-Haas Racing struggles to regain its footing and just so happens to be in its final year of a contract with Ford is not a coincidence. Indications continue to point toward SHR and Ford parting at the end of the 2024 season.”

Looking at SHR, the team that didn’t manage to grab a win in 2023, one can’t help but think Ford might be eyeing these newer, more successful teams. Both Front Row and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing have their unique thing going on, making the whole situation pretty interesting.

What could the future look like for Ford and Stewart Haas Racing?

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Ford’s got a unique spot in NASCAR, being the only manufacturer with four top-notch, Key Partner teams, including Stewart Haas Racing (SHR), Front Row, Team Penske, and RFK Racing. Chevy and Toyota each have three. One of the big shakeups was when Legacy Motor Club switched from Chevy to Toyota, mainly because Chevy couldn’t add another top-tier team to its lineup. Ford might be cool with having four Key Partner teams for now, but there’s chatter that they might have brought Front Row into the fold thinking SHR might be on their way out.

Typically, it seems like the magic number for manufacturers is three Key Partner teams. This isn’t to say they don’t value the other teams racing under their banner, but there’s only so much resources to go around. That’s why SHR’s future is looking a bit cloudy. Looking at Toyota and Chevrolet, they’re already at their limit with three “Tier One” teams. Still, could Toyota make room for SHR as a top-tier team? They’re already full up, but since they don’t have any other Cup Series teams waiting in the wings, maybe they could make it work.

Then there’s Honda. The idea of them joining NASCAR by 2025 might seem far-fetched, but imagine the buzz. SHR could become the flagship team for a new player in the game, with a championship pedigree and Tony Stewart as the face of it all. Sure, recent performances might not be the most dazzling, but it’s an intriguing thought.

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So, what’s next for SHR and Ford? If Honda decides to jump into NASCAR, could SHR be their golden ticket? It’s all up in the air, but one thing’s for sure—SHR will need to do something soon to stay in the Tier 1 team.

Read More: Former Las Vegas Winner Complaints About Wanting “More Pace” in His Ford at Stewart Haas Racing