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Tony Stewart could be forced to sell SHR seats in the Cup Series as he risks losing Tier 1 status in NASCAR

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Stewart-Haas Racing's future plans in the NASCAR Cup Series have been a hot topic in the garage. According to the rumors, SBJ's Adam Stern reported that SHR is considering selling one or more charters before the 2025 season. While it's hard to believe a rumor going around considering NASCAR insiders like Freddie Kraft are pretty sold on the idea, it looks like things are actually heating up in the Tony Stewart camp about their plans for the Cup series.

Tony Stewart and Gene Haas co-own and run their NASCAR team, and things have been pretty bleak for the team lately. However, there are even larger factors at play that could influence SHR's decision to sell its charter. One of them is losing its Tier 1 status with its manufacturer, Ford, and they have yet to finalize an extension to their current partnership, which ends in 2024.

Why does Tony Stewart need to rethink his plans to lead the SHR team?

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Charter prices are high, Spire Motorsports increased them to $40 million with its purchase last season. This was the argument Kraft made during the “Door Bumper Cleaner” podcast show. Additionally, the #23 car's spotter also confirmed that rumors that Tony Stewart and his team had sold more than one of their charters were in fact true.

Apparently there are rumors that Stewart Haas Racing is selling charters, probably two of them I would say. I've heard rumors that Gene Haas himself is funding a damn F1 team. So I don't think he really cares about the money and from what you hear the numbers are lower. This is probably because Gene just wants to get rid of him; Why wouldn’t he at this point, the way they’re going and stuff?” Kraft said.

Brett Griffins joined the discussion and also highlighted the importance of the Tier 1 status that SHR Front Row Motorsports might have been granted. “When you hear Tier 1 support, you're talking about $10 million per year coming from the manufacturer, plus lots of perks. So if you lose that, I could understand why selling a charter would be attractive to him. But if he has that, I don't see why it should be attractive to him.”

The only thing that can change the team's fortunes is the performance of its drivers on the track. And if you look at their recent successes, they are slowly but steadily gaining ground on rival teams.

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Stewart Haas Racing's season so far

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Tony Stewart had made it clear before the season started that they needed results. Even though the first outing was worrying, the drivers have started to show consistent performances in the last few races. Chase Briscoe and Ryan Preece both performed well in last weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway, finishing in the top ten. This was Preece's first top-10 finish, while it was a third finish for Briscoe in the No. 14 SHR Ford Mustang.

Noah Gragson of the No. 10 team was the only driver to start the season positively with two top-10 finishes in three races. He almost repeated this feat twice at the short track races in Phoenix and Richmond, finishing twelfth in each. However, Tony Stewart and Co.'s rookie driver Josh Berry has yet to achieve great feats like his teammates, but he has shown signs of potential.

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While it would be a nice sight for Tony Stewart to see his teams' consistent performance, a win could give them a turn for the better.

Tony Stewart's victory over the NHRA big guns en route to home track victory is the starting point for a steep journey