On Thursday, retired Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion driver and current co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing team, Tony Stewart was at the NASCAR Hall of Fame for a promotional video shoot for Mobil 1. Following the shoot, Stewart was asked about the strangely sluggish season for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2021, where the organization that won 10 races in 2020, has just one win through 25 races this season.
Stewart pulled no punches and said that something is wrong within the Stewart-Haas Racing organization.
“It is that time of the year, where you can reflect back and it’s been — not been a season that we’re proud of by any means,” Stewart explained. “We definitely have a problem in our organization and it’s not with people, but there’s something that we’re missing on that has cost us the entire season up to this point and we can’t find it. But we know there is something fundamentally wrong, but we have got everyone in the shop working to try to — A. We have to figure out what the problem is. That’s going to be the hardest part, once we find out what the problem is.”
While it’s been a down year, the team will still have at least two of their four cars in the Playoffs this season, as Kevin Harvick is locked in by way of points and Aric Almirola scored a dramatic victory at New Hampshire last month. But that does little to lessen the sting for a team that saw all four of their cars make into the NASCAR Cup Series post-season a year ago.
“It’s frustrating because we’re all sitting there scratching our heads trying to figure out what’s wrong and what is going on,” Stewart said. “Part of it is rule changes over the winter, where we lost some of the advantage that we found and created, we lost some of that and haven’t been able to get all of that back, obviously.”
Stewart also chalked up some of the lack of performance this season for SHR to the NASCAR parts freeze that was enacted to save teams money with the impending adaption of the Next Gen car in 2022.
“We’re kind of in a weird year where parts are frozen both on the motor side and on the chassis side. There’s some of the parts and components that we are not allowed to develop on. So, those parts were submitted last fall and we’re stuck with those. So, we are having to make the best with what we have,” Stewart surmised. ” I think some of the other teams probably found some stuff late in the season last year, that was a good move for them.”
Expect the Stewart-Haas Racing team, which have been among the most elite teams in the sport, since Tony Stewart moved to the organization back in 2009, to figure out what has been ailing the team in 2021, and without a doubt expect them to get the Next Gen figured out as we head toward the 2022 season.
Here is video from the Stewart chat with the media at the NASCAR Hall of Fame courtesy of Alex Andrejev of The Charlotte Observer:
Tony Stewart reflects on SHR’s performance during the regular #NASCAR season: “It’s not been a season that we’re proud of by any means … It’s frustrating because we’re all sitting there scratching our heads trying to figure out what is wrong and what’s going on…” pic.twitter.com/zT6r3N6TqR
— Alex Andrejev (@AndrejevAlex) August 26, 2021
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.