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via Getty

via Getty

For the past few years, Stewart-Haas Racing has not been on NASCAR’s good side. Tony Stewart has invested a lot into the team and has even won a Cup Series championship with them. However, of late, underhanded tactics, whether intentional or unintentional, have cost them big time. And it seems like the team has once again gotten into trouble after just one race in the 2024 Cup Series season, with SHR drivers Noah Gragson and Ryan Preece facing the heat during pre-race inspections. 

This means that ever since the Next Gen car debuted in the NASCAR Cup Series, SHR has been penalized in every season. They just cannot seem to get it right, in any way, with the car, which is evident in the performances they have put up. After a dismal 2023 performance, the team surely would have wanted to get off to a good start in 2024. However, things could not have been any more difficult at this early stage of the season.

SHR’s troubles continue under NASCAR’s heavy scrutiny

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The cars facing issues this time are that of Noah Gragson and Ryan Preece. NASCAR has reportedly confiscated the roof rail deflectors during the pre-race inspection on Friday. A decision is yet to be made by the organizing body on whether the parts are in order with the pre-mandated rules regarding the part as per section 14.5.6.1 of the NASCAR Rule Book.

Senior motorsports journalist Austin Konenski was among the first to report the news and an undesirable statistic on X. “Stewart-Haas Racing has been heavily penalized in every season with the NextGen car. NASCAR hasn’t even completed 2 official race weekends in ’24, and Stewart-Haas Racing has 2 cars with confiscated parts. Noah Gragson/Ryan Preece have confiscated roof rail deflectors,” the tweet read.

If found guilty, it is only a matter of time before penalties are levied on SHR. Last year, too, the team’s #14 driver, Chase Briscoe, had to endure a heavy penalty. At the time, NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer said that the issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct. Crew chief John Klausmeier was fined $250,000 and suspended for six races. Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team were docked 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

However, that’s not where the issues began. This unfortunate streak started in 2022 with one of the greatest Cup Series racers of the modern era, Kevin Harvick. Even back then, it was embarrassing for the team.

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The woes of Tony Stewart started with Kevin Harvick two years ago

Tony Stewart’s team was caught using a modified spec part, which was supposed to be the same for all teams. The resulting penalty was as hefty as it gets, as Harvick was docked 100 driver and owner points. Crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $100,000 and suspended for four of the last five races of the 2022 Cup Series season.

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The team was supposed to appeal the decision but chose to rescind it after further contemplation. However, the driver of the #4 was not a happy man as he believed that the parts NASCAR provided were not good enough. “What a disaster for no reason. We didn’t touch the wall. We didn’t touch a car, and here we are in the pits with a burned-up car, and we can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of c****y-a** parts,” he had said at the time, as per NBC.

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It has been three years since, and Tony Stewart’s issues with NASCAR and its cars have not yet ended. It certainly will be interesting to see what the organizers decide and, if found guilty, what penalties they levy on the team. Whatever they may be, it certainly won’t be good news for a team so desperate for a race win.

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