By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
The Art of Racing 4-22
Ford grows team
Placeholder Image

Ford Performance announced Stewart-Haas Racing will switch to Ford as its auto manufacturer partner starting with the 2017 NASCAR season. The multiyear agreement means that, beginning with Daytona Speedweeks in February 2017, the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing team will race the Ford Fusion with Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines. 
Stewart-Haas Racing will join a Ford NASCAR lineup for 2017 that includes Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Front Row Motorsports. Roush Yates Engines is Ford’s technical partner for NASCAR race engines.
Ever since Stewart-Haas Racing was formed in 2003, it has used Chevrolet chassis and engines prepared by Hendrick Motorsports. They won three championships -- Tony Stewart in 2005 and 2011, and Kevin Harvick in 2014.  It has been 12 long years since Ford has won a NASCAR Cup championship, (Kurt Busch in 2004), while Chevrolet has won nine championships in that span.
Stewart-Haas will manufacture its own chassis after the switch to Ford. At present, the company has a 200,000-square-foot facility and approximately 280 employees. Stewart wants to add employees as it transitions to Ford with the hope of providing chassis to other Ford teams. Yates Racing will have to make about 60 additional engines when Stewart-Haas joins the Ford stable. This will require them to add additional employees.
Clint Bowyer is scheduled to take over for a retiring Tony Stewart next season, and along with teammates Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick, they all have spent their entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series careers in Chevrolets. Only teammate Kurt Busch has spent any time in a Ford.  While this may seem like a problem, the handling of any of the Ford, Chevrolet or Toyota cars can be overcome with a little practice.
Switching manufactures is not new. Several teams have done it in the past, most notably Team Penske when it switched to Ford from Dodge. They went from champions in 2012 to race 23 times before winning a race in 2013.  
Tony Stewart and co-owner Gene Haas aren’t stupid and they’re not going to make the move unless they think it’ll serve the team in the long run. With a charter system that provides more purse money and a guaranteed starting spot in the field to those teams with a charter (Stewart-Haas has four), teams can make more drastic changes knowing they won’t be going anywhere while the awkwardness happens.
Besides the talented drivers with Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford is looking to add them to a young stable of drivers currently in the Ford camp. These include Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, and the Wood Brothers young rookie Ryan Blaney, among others.