Tony Stewart, who has a long history with General Motors, will switch his Stewart-Haas Racing teams from Chevrolet to Ford starting in 2017.
The four-car Sprint Cup team has been with General Motors since its inception and began a strong alliance with Chevrolet powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports when Stewart joined the team and was given half-ownership of it following the 2008 season.
SHR won the 2011 Sprint Cup title with Tony Stewart and the 2014 title with Kevin Harvick in Chevrolet cars. Its four-car stable will include Harvick, Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer in 2017.
“I am proud of our association with Chevrolet as they helped build our organization into the team it is today,” Stewart, who is retiring from racing in Sprint Cup after this season, said Tuesday in a statement. “This new partnership with Ford allows us to strengthen our position in the sport and ensure the long-term stability and success for everyone who is a part of Stewart-Haas Racing.”
The team will get its engines from Roush Yates Engines, which supplies motors to all of the Ford-supported Sprint Cup teams. The length of the multiyear deal with Ford was not announced.
SHR will join a Ford camp that in 2017 will include potentially 14 cars with Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Wood Brothers Racing and Front Row Motorsports. Ford last won the season title in 2004 with Busch, when he drove for Roush Fenway Racing.
“We have said very clearly that we are not in NASCAR just to race, but to win races and championships,” Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak said. “We believe the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 will give our program a major boost in terms of being in contention for both drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships every year.
“We believe that our NASCAR engineering experience and tools match up very well with the expertise and personnel that Stewart-Haas Racing has in house right now, and that we will both benefit from this partnership going forward.”
Chevrolet had 17 cars among the top-30 in Sprint Cup owner points in 2015 with SHR, Hendrick, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, HScott Motorsports and Furniture Row Racing. Furniture Row left for Toyota after last season.
Stewart drove General Motors cars (Pontiacs and Chevrolets) at Joe Gibbs Racing from 1999 to 2007. He drove a Toyota at JGR in 2008 before returning to the Chevrolet camp at SHR.
“Motorsports is an extremely challenging environment where in order to maintain success you have to constantly innovate,” SHR co-owner Gene Haas said. “It’s true in NASCAR and it’s true in business.
“We’ve enjoyed great success with Chevrolet, but this opportunity with Ford allows us to evolve while continuing to compete at the highest levels of the sport.”