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Stewart Says SHR Expansion Unlikely This Season

[1]Tony Stewart told SPEED.com [2] that it is unlikely that Stewart Haas Racing would expand to three teams next season. Stewart’s goal for SHR has always been to eventually become a four-car team [3], leading to questions every year of whether or not the team would expand.

Stewart said:

I would think [that the team will remain two cars next year.] We’re kind of in that crunch time of the year where if a package was going to happen, it would pretty much be that the wheels would have to be in motion by now.

Last summer, then competition director Bobby Hutchens said he would prefer that any decision to expand to a three car operation be made by June 1 [4] to avoid disrupting SHR’s existing teams. But Stewart would not rule out expansion [5] more than two months later. Stewart did however, acknowledge back then that things would have to move pretty quickly to get a deal done in time for the following season.

This year is probably no different. Hutchens, the one who preferred a decision be made by June 1, is no longer with the team [6].  And, the SHR shop is equipped to house three teams, so logistics wouldn’t be an issue. Stewart said:

The good thing is that our shop is set up and capable of doing a three-car team. It’s not like we have to go build a building just to do it. We have that side of it in place and have made provisions to do it, if something were to come about .

That indicates that the team could accommodate a deal that comes together later in the season.

SHR also employs and trains the pit crew of Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 [7] Sprint Cup Series Chevy with driver Regan Smith so the team is used to working with three crews. There has been no word on whether or not SHR would continue that relationship if they were to expand.