Bye-bye, bow tie. hello, blue oval.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday that its four teams will run Ford Fusions in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2017.
SHR has spent its entire existence with General Motors since the team’s non-Stewart inception under just Gene Haas in 2002, utilizing both the Pontiac and Chevrolet brands. The team has won two championships under the Chevrolet banner, one with owner-driver Tony Stewart in 2011 and another with Kevin Harvick in 2014. The team has also won 30 points-paying races, all since Stewart came to co-own the team in 2009.
Ford’s coup of SHR is a huge boost to the manufacturer, which also supports Team Penske, Wood Brothers Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Richard Petty Motorsports. While Penske won seven races in 2015, none of Ford’s other teams visited victory lane, and the once-flagship RFR has floundered in recent years, losing high-profile drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards to rival Toyota.
“We are thrilled to be able to add a championship-level team like Stewart-Haas Racing to our Ford NASCAR program,” Ford Executive VP and Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair said. “Tony Stewart and Gene Haas have the same passion for winning that we do, and bring a strong stable of drivers and personnel that fit into what we’re trying to do in the sport.”
SHR’s 2017 lineup will consist of Harvick, 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch (who won his title in a Ford), Danica Patrick and new addition Clint Bowyer, taking over for Stewart following his retirement.
“I am proud of our association with Chevrolet as they helped build our organization into the team it is today,” Stewart said 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 continue its relationship with Chevrolet through the remainder of 2016. When the team rolls its 2017 Fusions onto the track next season, they will be powered by Roush Yates Engines.