Stewart-Haas Racing failed to notch a win in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, something they hadn’t done since before they won their first ever race.
It’s no secret that Stewart-Haas Racing have not had the success they had in the late 2010s over the last few NASCAR Cup Series seasons, but during the 2023 season, they hit a new low.
The 2023 season marked their first winless season since 2008, which was the season before they secured their first ever Cup Series victory. They racked up 69 wins from 2009 to 2022.
Since the end of the 2020 season, which saw them lead all teams with 10 wins, they have tallied just four trips to victory lane, two of which over an eight-day span in 2022. From 2014 to 2020 alone, they recorded five seasons with more than four victories.
In his final season, Harvick was the team’s top finisher in the point standings in 13th place. None of the team’s other three drivers finished higher than 22nd.
There isn’t a whole lot of optimism about the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season either, as Stewart-Haas Racing are set to enter somewhat of a rebuilding phase.
Harvick retiring was always going to have a huge impact on the team, and the fact that he ended up being the only one of the team’s four drivers who made the playoffs during their rough 2023 season made it even more obvious that Stewart-Haas Racing were going to be left with a huge void, one which is effectively impossible to fill.
Josh Berry, whose Cup Series experience is limited to a handful of substitute appearances, is set to replace the 2014 champion and 60-time race winner behind the wheel of the No. 4 Ford in 2024.
But the departure of Aric Almirola is more significant than most realize as well, given the fact that the team are now set to embark upon this rebuild period without a true veteran in their lineup.
Their longest tenured driver entering the 2024 season is set to be Chase Briscoe, who has one career win and one career playoff berth in three seasons with the team.
Ryan Preece, their only other returning driver from 2023, just finished his first season at Stewart-Haas Racing — and first in the Cup Series since 2021 — with only two top 10 finishes.
Noah Gragson, who was rumored to be out at Legacy Motor Club at the end of the year due to poor performance even before “liking” an inappropriate meme on social media and being suspended and released, has been rumored to replace Almirola after posting just two top 20 finishes in 21 starts in his rookie season.
This is a team that already had a long way to go after a winless 2023 season. Doing so with two new drivers could make things even more difficult — but perhaps more exciting.