Stewart-Haas Racing have made a change to their driver lineup after each of the last five NASCAR Cup Series seasons, but what does 2022 have in store?
Stewart-Haas Racing haven’t gone an offseason without a change to their NASCAR Cup Series driver lineup since between the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
In those two seasons, Kevin Harvick drove the #4 Chevrolet, Danica Patrick drove the #10 Chevrolet, team co-owner Tony Stewart drove the #14 Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch drove the #41 Chevrolet.
But since then, they have only retained three out of four drivers each year, making exactly one change each offseason.
Let’s take a look at the team’s recent driver changes.
After the 2016 season, Stewart retired from Cup Series racing and was replaced by Clint Bowyer behind the wheel of the #14 Chevrolet-turned-Ford for the 2017 season.
After the 2017 season, Patrick stepped away, opening up the seat of the #10 Ford for Aric Almirola for the 2018 season.
Busch moved from Stewart-Haas Racing to Chip Ganassi Racing after the 2018 season, freeing up the seat of the #41 Ford for Daniel Suarez for the 2019 season.
Suarez only lasted one year at the team, as he was replaced by rookie Cole Custer for the 2020 season.
After the 2020 season, Bowyer retired, and he was replaced by rookie Chase Briscoe for the 2021 season.
So will the 2022 season see another driver change?
We know that Stewart-Haas Racing have a “major announcement” set for later this morning at 10:40 a.m. ET. This “major announcement” is set to take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and it is set to feature both Stewart and Briscoe.
It is said to feature the unveiling of cars for the 2022 season, and it has been rumored to feature the welcoming of a new partner or partners for Briscoe.
While we know that Harvick and Briscoe have deals to compete next year, the team haven’t formally confirmed the returns of Almirola or Custer. But both are expected to return.
And let’s not forget the fact that, when drivers have departed from the team after each of the last five seasons, their departures were confirmed before their final seasons with the team ended. That was the case for Stewart, Patrick, Busch, Suarez and Bowyer.
The 2021 season has already ended that particular trend.
Additionally, Stewart was adamant that the team have never had any plans to make any changes to their driver lineup for the 2022 season after a challenging 2021 campaign.
“We’ve had a history of having long-term relationships,” Stewart told Beyond the Flag over the summer. “We don’t have any plans to make any changes right now. We’re happy with our lineup. We’re happy with our guys. We feel like they’ve all contributed and worked really well together to try to find solutions. This is the lineup I want for next season.”
Even on the Xfinity Series side, no changes have been made, as Riley Herbst is set to return for a second season behind the wheel of the #98 Ford.
As for this morning’s “major announcement”, we’ll have to wait and see what exactly that entails.