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Stewart-Haas Charter Sale Confirmed? 23XI Insider Cryptically Confirms Tony Stewart’s Downsizing in the Cup Series

Published 04/10/2024, 11:13 PM EDT

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Back in February 2024, some not-so-great news started swirling around the Ford Camp. The word on the street? Despite having fresh talents like Josh Berry and Noah Gragson on board, Tony Stewart‘s SHR team was thinking about selling off a charter or two. And now, this buzz got pretty much confirmed when NASCAR insiders, including Freddie Kraft, spotter for the Michael Jordan-owned 23XI Racing team, and Brett Griffin, brought it up on the DBC podcast. What did they say?

Stewart Haas Racing’s squad is slimming down, but who’s on the lookout to bulk up?

Just yesterday, Freddie Kraft initiated the discussion on Twitter, re-sharing a clip where he and Brett Griffin were deep in chat about Tony Stewart and Co. possibly letting go of some charters. “Is SHR selling charters? How many? Who’s going to buy them?” Brett Griffin tossed back a cheeky, “You just texted me who is buying one 😂😂.” The banter kept rolling until Kraft threw down a playful, “You’re not allowed to answer,” leaving fans buzzing about who might be in the market for another charter.

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Fans started throwing guesses into the ring, like “Wood Brothers picks up 1 and takes Briscoe with it The other one🤷🏻‍♂️” and “My bet would be 23XI buys one and Trackhouse buys the other,” but we’re still waiting on the word to make it official. The hot tips are that 23XI Racing, Trackhouse Racing, Legacy Motor Club, or JR Motorsports could be keen on a charter from Stewart Haas Racing.

23XI Racing might be looking to beef up its operations to match its shiny new digs. Denny Hamlin has flirted with the idea of driving for his own team, but it looks like he’s planning to stick with Joe Gibbs Racing till the end. Trackhouse Racing is another squad that might be eyeing an expansion, especially with Zane Smith on loan at Spire and Shane van Gisbergen juggling a mixed schedule, aiming for a full-time Cup gig next year. They’ve also got young Connor Zilisch warming up in the bullpen. With Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez firmly in place, they’ll need to shuffle the deck to fit everyone in.

Jimmie Johnson already spruced up his team, but adding another car could really ramp up their growth. Erik Jones is holding down the fort for now, but John Hunter Nemechek is pegged as the face of their future. The new name here might be Dale Earnhardt Jr‘s JR Motorsports, which could buy the charter from Tony Stewart and the team. The veteran Xfinity series team owner might just be gearing up for a Cup Series leap, and with Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr being tight, this could be their shot. After years of preparing top-notch young drivers, the team might leap into Cup racing with a future star.

The chatter is that only NASCAR’s current crew might be in the market for the charter, steering clear of outsiders, mainly because the charter system right now is pretty tangled.

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Why are only internal NASCAR teams being considered for Tony Stewart and Co.’s charter sale?

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The last charter swap was when Spire Motorsports snagged one from the shuttered Live Fast Motorsports for just shy of $40 million last year. Recently, charters’ value shot up 11 times over, sparking a heated debate in NASCAR circles. Some are betting on their value to keep soaring, while others aren’t so sure. Charters aren’t just about getting a guaranteed spot on the starting line; they’re about securing a steady cash flow for the teams in return for hitting the track at all 36-point races each year.

But the teams are currently locked in talks with NASCAR about the next big agreement, set to kick off next year, including the big question of how charters will roll in the future. Word on the street is NASCAR’s thinking about a seven-year extension, matching its new media rights deal. However, teams are pushing for something more permanent, more like owning a forever pass, as long as they stick to a set of rules, like showing up for every race.

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With all these back-and-forth negotiations and the charter system up in the air after this year without a new deal in place, outside investors are keeping their wallets closed for now about buying a charter from Tony Stewart and Co., according to the folks running the show.

Read More: NASCAR Rumors: Tony Stewart Could be Forced to Sell SHR’s Cup Series Spots as He Risks Losing ‘Tier 1 Status’ in NASCAR

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As a journalist, she religiously believes in the power of research, which allows her readers to dive deep into her stories and experience the detailed nuances of the sport like never before. Being proficient with Core Sport and Live Event Coverage, she has written multiple copies on the top entities of Stock Car Racing, like Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Tony Stewart.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta