NASCAR: Stewart-Haas Racing’s annual trend continues

With Clint Bowyer out, Stewart-Haas Racing have now changed their driver lineup after each of the last five NASCAR Cup Series seasons.

In the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series season, Stewart-Haas Racing’s four full-time drivers were Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick. That remained the same in the 2016 season.

To this day, this remains the most recent driver lineup that Stewart-Haas Racing have carried from one year to the next.

And the trend of switching up their lineup is set to continue in 2021.

On Thursday evening, it was announced that Clint Bowyer, who has driven the #14 Ford since the 2017 season, is set to retire from full-time competition after the 2020 season and move to the FOX broadcast booth for Cup Series races on Sundays.

So the 2021 season will mark five straight seasons of the team changing their driver lineup. After the 2016 season, Stewart retired. In 2015, it had already been determined that Bowyer would replace him behind the wheel of the #14 Chevrolet-turned-Ford for the 2017 season, and that is what happened.

After the 2017 season, Patrick retired. She was replaced by Aric Almirola behind the wheel of the #10 Ford. Almirola signed a contract extension in September and is set to be back for a fourth year with the team next year.

Then after the 2018 season, it was Busch who departed. He signed with Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the #1 Chevrolet and is set to return for a third year with the team next year. Meanwhile, it was Daniel Suarez who replaced him behind the wheel of the #41 Ford.

But Suarez’s tenure with Stewart-Haas Racing was short-lived. After the 2019 season, he was released by rookie Cole Custer.

Bowyer’s replacement has not yet been named, but it is believed that Stewart-Haas Racing will promote Xfinity Series driver Chase Briscoe to their Cup Series team. If not, Erik Jones is seen as an option, given the fact that he is set to be replaced by Christopher Bell at Joe Gibbs Racing behind the wheel of the #20 Toyota next year.

Through all of this, the team’s lone constant is Harvick, the 2014 champion who is set to enter his eighth year with the team next season and signed a multi-year contract that runs through 2023 back in February.