NASCAR: Recent Stewart-Haas Racing trend continues

Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

With Josh Berry set to replace Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing will have made a driver change after seven of the last eight NASCAR Cup Series seasons.

4EVER has officially evolved into 4WARD, as Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed on Wednesday that Josh Berry is set to replace the retiring Kevin Harvick behind the wheel of the No. 4 Ford beginning in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

It marks yet another change for Stewart-Haas Racing’s driver lineup, which has only remained the same from one year to the next once since 2016.

Between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, no changes occurred. Harvick returned to the No. 4 Chevrolet, Danica Patrick returned to the No. 10 Chevrolet, Tony Stewart returned to the No. 14 Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch returned to the No. 41 Chevrolet.

But since then, change has become somewhat of a theme for the four-car NASCAR Cup Series team.

Stewart retired after 2016, and Clint Bowyer replaced him behind the wheel of the No. 14 Chevrolet-turned-Ford. After 2017, Patrick retired, and Almirola replaced her. After 2018, Busch moved to Chip Ganassi Racing, and Daniel Suarez replaced him.

Suarez lasted only one season with the team, as he was replaced by Cole Custer after 2019, prompting a move to Gaunt Brothers Racing. Bowyer retired after 2020 and was replaced by Chase Briscoe.

The team retained Harvick, Almirola, Briscoe, and Custer from 2021 to 2022, but Custer was demoted back to the Xfinity Series and replaced by Ryan Preece after 2022.

Preece had been rumored to join the team when Almirola announced before the 2022 season that he would be retiring once it ended, but Custer’s lack of performance gave him the opportunity to do so even with Almirola changing his mind.

Harvick’s impending retirement coupled with Berry’s hiring will mark seven offseason in the last eight years during which Stewart-Haas Racing have changed their driver lineup, though they have never made more than one change each year during that span.

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The could technically still make a second change for 2024, with Almirola reportedly considering retirement after pushing off his initial retirement plans last year.