Harvick suspects dispute between Tony Stewart and Gene Haas led to SHR closure

Kevin Harvick suspects dispute between Stewart-Haas Racing owners led to closure

Kevin Harvick suspects a dispute between Tony Stewart and Gene Haas might be the reason behind Stewart-Haas Racing terminating its NASCAR operations.

Kevin Harvick aired unexpected opinions about Stewart-Haas Racing’s closure after the organization announced it will be closing its operations at the end of the 2024 season taking the NASCAR community by storm.

SHR intends to drastically reduce their staff and sell its three charters. However, recent reports indicate that Factory Haas Team will keep and use one of SHR’s charters by fielding two cars in the Xfinity Series.

This development has led former team driver Kevin Harvick to raise some intriguing questions. He ponders if the team’s collapse was ultimately caused by a falling out between owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas.

The 48-year old also questions whether Stewart decided to shut down operations because he grew frustrated with his limited influence over the team’s competitive side. Harvick mentions cases where Stewart’s authority was cast in doubt, including SHR’s refusal to hire drivers Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson.

“I think I should just put my notes on the table, because I have no idea what is happening here,” Harvick said, regarding the news of Gene Haas running a single-car team in the Cup Series in 2025, via the latest episode of Harvick’s Happy Hour.

“Now I’m confused. Like, is there a spat? Is there something that happened with Gene and Tony? Was Tony just fed up, with not being able to do the things that he needed to do, from the competition side? Because think back to this.

“They tried to hire Kyle Larson. Tried to hire Kyle Busch. Both of those things got vetoed. One from Ford, and I don’t know the ins and outs of the whole Kyle Busch thing, but I don’t know. It’s very odd to me.”

Furthering his speculation, Harvick projects that Haas will revert to its pre-Stewart status in 2025. He thinks the great driver was the main driving force behind SHR’s success, therefore he expects the Factory Haas Team project to run into challenges.

“I thought Front Row was going to move into the Haas shop, and now Haas is going to keep a charter, and two Xfinity Series teams,” he said.

“So it’s just really weird to me that it’s worked out this way, that Gene and Joe Custer are going to run — what’s it called, Factory Haas Racing? But I think when you look back at this whole thing, this is how Haas started.

“It was Gene Haas and Joe Custer, and they started up Haas, and they couldn’t — they didn’t run very well, so they brought in Tony Stewart, to bring in the notoriety, and the people, and the things that they needed to do to win a championship.

“Well, they brought in Tony Stewart, they won a championship. Tony brought all the people. Brought in myself and Rodney Childers.

“Won a championship. Brought in all the people. And now, it seems like, ‘Hey, we still want to race,’ and Tony was like, ‘Screw it, I’m out of here. I’m not going to race this way, with whatever’s happening,’ and moved on in life, and now they’re right back to where they started.

“So I think it’ll be very difficult for them to run this team competitively.”

Considering Harvick’s extensive knowledge about the team, his statements and doubts carry some credibility. It will be intriguing to see if Gene Haas can achieve success as a Cup team owner without the presence of Tony Stewart.

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