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Las Vegas drivers affected as Stewart-Haas Racing to close NASCAR teams

Updated May 28, 2024 - 3:52 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stewart-Haas Racing, with Las Vegan Noah Gragson as part of the team, will close its NASCAR teams at the end of this season.

Co-owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas announced the decision Tuesday after nearly a year of rumors that their four-car Cup Series team was looking to sell its charters and either scale back or exit the stock car series completely.

“It is a decision that did not come easily, nor was it made quickly,” the owners said. “Racing is a labor-intensive, humbling sport. It requires unwavering commitment and vast resources, with a 365-day mindset to be better than everyone else. It’s part of what makes success so rewarding. But the commitment needed to extract maximum performance while providing sustainability is incredibly demanding, and we’ve reached a point in our respective personal and business lives where it’s time to pass the torch.”

SHR this year fields Cup Series cars for Gragson, Josh Berry, Chase Briscoe and Ryan Preece. Berry and Gragson are in their first seasons with the team. SHR holds the 2025 option on Briscoe and he has not been contractually permitted to discuss future employment options even as rumors have swirled that SHR would close.

The move will also shutter the SHR Xfinity Series team, with two cars driven by Cole Custer and Las Vegan Riley Herbst.

Gene Haas founded Haas CNC Racing in 2002 and the California businessman lured Stewart in as a co-owner ahead of the 2009 season. Stewart had won two Cup championships for Joe Gibbs Racing at the time but couldn’t turn down an equity stake and opportunity to help a small team win races and contend for titles.

Stewart in his 2009 debut season gave the rebranded team its first Cup victory — he won four races that year — and its first Cup title in 2011. Kevin Harvick added a second championship in 2014.

Stewart, Harvick and Clint Bowyer have all retired from NASCAR driving and SHR since then has been in a grueling rebuild.

Haas spends most of his time these days with his Formula 1 team and Stewart is driving a full NHRA schedule, making both absentee owners at NASCAR events. Haas was also ill for much of last year.

The NASCAR team is primarily run by Joe Custer, the chief operating officer and longtime Gene Haas confidant. Son Cole won the Xfinity championship last year for SHR.

Among SHR’s accomplishments are the two Cup titles, two Xfinity championships and more than 100 NASCAR races that include crown-jewel events such as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500.

“We’re proud of all the wins and championships we’ve earned since joining together in 2009, but even more special is the culture we built and the friendships we forged as we committed to a common cause — winning races and collecting trophies,” Stewart and Haas said. “We have tremendous respect and appreciation for all of our employees, and we will work diligently to assist them during this transition to find new opportunities beyond the 2024 race season.”

Part of Haas’ F1 team is run from the Kannapolis-based shop and it is unclear if that will continue or if Haas has plans to also depart from F1.

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