NASCAR: Gene Haas will keep a charter for a Cup Series team following closure of Stewart-Haas Racing

AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Gene Haas of USA and MoneyGram Haas F1 Team arrives at the track during the Sprint Shootout/Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2023 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Song Haiyuan/MB Media/Getty Images)
Gene Haas is keeping a NASCAR Cup Series charter for the 2025 season. (Photo by Song Haiyuan/MB Media/Getty Images)

Gene Haas is keeping one of his team’s four charters.

Haas said Thursday that he would operate a Cup Series car and two Xfinity Series cars. The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner’s announcement comes weeks after SHR said it was shutting down at the end of the season. SHR currently fields Cup Series cars for Josh Berry, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson and Ryan Preece and Xfinity series cars for Cole Custer and Riley Herbst.

The new team will be called the Haas Factory Team. Haas also owns a Formula 1 team that currently fields cars for Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

“My commitment to motorsports hasn’t changed, just the scope of my involvement,” Haas said in a statement. “Operating a four-car Cup Series team has become too arduous but, at the same time, I still need a platform to promote Haas Automation and grow

“Maintaining my presence in Cup allows Haas Automation to compete at NASCAR’s highest level, which is important to our customers and distributors. The Xfinity Series program provides a full weekend experience for our guests, and it delivers added depth and scale to our overall operation.”

Haas didn’t announce any driver for the 2025 season, but it’s fair to assume that Custer could be a candidate for the Cup Series car. Custer previously drove in the Cup Series for SHR and his father Joe Custer is a longtime executive for Haas’ racing operations, and will be the new team's president.

Stewart-Haas Racing was formed in 2009 when Tony Stewart left Joe Gibbs Racing. As part of his move from JGR, Stewart got an ownership stake in what was previously known as Haas CNC Racing.

The team immediately moved from backmarker to serious competitor as Stewart and Ryan Newman were SHR’s first drivers. Stewart won his third Cup Series title in 2011 and became the first owner-driver to win a Cup title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.

SHR won a second Cup Series title with Kevin Harvick in 2014, but has taken a step back in recent seasons. Harvick was the team’s stalwart before retiring at the end of the 2023 season and SHR lost longtime sponsors like Busch and Smithfield ahead of the 2024 season.

Haas’ decision to keep a charter means SHR still has two charters for sale ahead of the 2025 season. Front Row Motorsports has already acquired one of SHR’s charters, and the other two could be on the market for some time as NASCAR and its team owners look for an extension of their franchising model. The current charter agreement expires at the end of the 2024 season and there doesn’t appear to have been much progress in negotiations between NASCAR and teams over the first half of the 2024 season.