Gene Haas will keep a charter for a new Haas Factory Team next season

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 31: Team owner Gene Haas (R) officially inducts Tony Stewart into the NASCAR Hall of Fame during the 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Charlotte Convention Center on January 31, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Stewart-Haas Racing may be gone after the season, but owner Gene Haas will continue to compete at the highest level of NASCAR. SHR announced a month ago that it will be shutting its doors after the 2024 season, with co-owner Tony Stewart out of the sport altogether.

That means the team’s four charters are available. Since then, Front Row Motorsports has purchased an additional charter, presumably from SHR, and Trackhouse and 23XI have been suggested as buyers for two more.

The fourth is no longer on the market, however, as Haas will retain it for an all-new eponymous Haas Factory Team that will take to the track from the 2025 season.

“My commitment to motorsports hasn’t changed, just the scope of my involvement,” Haas said in a press release on Thursday. “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”

The team will field one full-time Cup Series car as well as the current two-car SHR Xfinity program, where the team’s No. 00 team is the reigning champion.

“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.”

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 04: Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Ford, drives during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 04, 2023 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Gene Haas has a history of going at it alone in NASCAR. He ran Haas CNC Racing in the Cup Series from 2002 until the 2009 partnership with owner-driver Tony Stewart that created the team’s current incarnation. In that time, the team ran mostly Chevrolets in an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports, although it had a brief dalliance with Pontiac initially.

The team will operate out of the existing SHR shop and retain some SHR equipment, continuing Haas’ original enterprise. he announcement, however, did not specify any sponsors beyond Haas CNC, clarify which drivers will compete for the team, or even specify a manufacturer.

The team will be run by Joe Custer, current co-president of Stewart-Haas Racing, COO of the Haas F1 Team, and father of current Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer. That seems to suggest that Custer’s future at the team is likely secure. He competed in the Cup Series for SHR for three seasons, picking up one win in his rookie year at Kentucky. Since returning to the Xfinity Series, he’s picked up multiple wins and last year’s championship, making him a viable option for a Cup Series seat.

The team also currently fields Riley Herbst in the Xfinity Series alongside Chase Briscoe, Josh Berry, Noah Gragson, and Ryan Preece in the Cup Series. Briscoe has been suggested for a variety of open seats, including the No. 19, vacated by a retiring Martin Truex, but none of those drivers have a confirmed ride for the 2025 season yet and could all inherit the Haas Factory Team seat.

For now, it falls to each driver to close out the season strongly for Stewart-Haas Racing. The team has yet to win in either the Cup Series or Xfinity Series in 2024, and each race has now become an audition for a new job. The only difference is that new job might be at the same shop.

Owen Johnson