View From the Virtual Pit Box

SHR Crew Chiefs Offer Their Take on iRacing

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” This is an ancient Chinese proverb, and it’s particularly apt when it comes to NASCAR and its embrace of iRacing.

With the entire sports world shuttered to combat the spread of the coronavirus, NASCAR – the 72-year-old purveyor of ground-pounding speed – has found its windmill in iRacing, specifically, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.

The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of actual racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. It kicked off last Sunday at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and it is a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

It has been an unabashed success, with the series’ second race taking place this Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway with live coverage on FOX.

Last Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Homestead was the single most-watched esports event in U.S. history. The race drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, besting the previous high of 770,000 viewers when Mortal Kombat aired on The CW in 2016. The race was the highest-rated broadcast on FS1 since mass postponements of sporting events began on March 15. During the race, the #ProInvitationalSeries was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the U.S.

But while the drivers have been hands-on in this endeavor, what do their crew chiefs think? In the real world, they’re always hands-on, with an assortment of tools occupying their hands regularly. But in the sim world, they’re bystanders.

“The iRacing event that took place at Homestead last weekend was quite revolutionary, not only for our sport, but for all sports in general,” said Mike Bugarewicz, crew chief for NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). “It gave us something to do and something to watch on Sunday, and it gave the drivers some seat time. While it’s not perfect to what the real world is, it still forces them to make a call from a crew chief’s perspective. Not every call is so easy.”

SHR’s Johnny Klausmeier, crew chief for Clint Bowyer and the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 team, provided an example.

“The most interesting thing to me was the tire strategy with the guys taking none, two or four tires. It seemed very realistic, especially at Homestead-Miami Speedway where you have a lot of tire fall off. Guys could get their track position, but after 10 laps, the tires were wearing out and they were shuffling around, moving and jockeying.

“As a crew chief, I wanted to put my hands on things and work on the car. So, it was different for the drivers to be able to just instantly change things and make the car different on the computer. It was neat and a great show for the fans.”

While the racecar is obviously important, the track is the other key element. Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick and SHR’s No. 4 Busch Light team, was impressed with how real a track’s idiosyncrasies were detailed in iRacing.

“The racetracks are really accurate, with the bumps and the features and all of that stuff,” Childers said. “From a visual side of things, it’s probably very beneficial for the drivers.”

One of those drivers is Chase Briscoe, pilot of the No. 98 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang for SHR in the Xfinity Series. Briscoe’s crew chief, Richard Boswell, believes the time his driver spends on iRacing makes him better in general.

“Laps are laps, regardless of what car it is or what type of simulator it’s on,” Boswell said. “The repetition of seeing the markers at certain tracks and feeling the bumps is a great way to stay sharp. Of course, there’s the added advantage of Chase having a motion rig where he can get a more realistic feel for each track, not just in the steering wheel but in his seat.

“I sure am glad my driver is spending this time wisely. I know when we finally get back to racing, he will be as ready as anyone. So will his team!”

Boswell, like everyone in NASCAR, is eagerly awaiting the resumption of real racing, but he has embraced the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and the newfound time at home.

“This is a great way to keep fans connected to our sport considering the difficult times our country is facing. I applaud FOX, NASCAR, iRacing, the sponsors and all of the folks who have participated in bringing this event to our homes. Even my little girls were excited to see some sort of racing on TV. The only difference was they could root for their favorite driver, Chase Briscoe, with daddy instead of without him.”

 

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter at @StewartHaasRcng, on Instagram at @StewartHaasRacing and on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/StewartHaasRacing.

Brave New Schedule

Necessity Brings Opportunity When NASCAR Racing Returns

Words matter. For example, there’s a big difference between “postponed” and “canceled”. Postponed means to defer, or to put off until a later time. Canceled, meanwhile, means to make void, revoke or annul.

NASCAR has been on hiatus since the coronavirus outbreak suspended the entire sports industry, but its races have only been postponed, which means all will eventually happen. But for an entity that lays claim to the longest season in all of professional sports – one that spans 36 point-paying races across 10 months from early February to November – rescheduling those postponed races will require some creative thinking.

Midweek shows? Why not? Doubleheaders? Sure. In fact, NASCAR has performed the former numerous times with the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Since its inception in 2013, the Truck Series race at Eldora has owned a midweek date in July. This year’s race is slated for Thursday, July 30. A doubleheader, meanwhile, is already slated for June 27-28 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway with the flagship NASCAR Cup Series.

Certainly more midweek races and doubleheader weekends can satisfy the appetite of NASCAR fans hungry for real racing action, while also serving as the solution for rescheduling postponed events.

“If you’ve followed me, you know I’ve been pretty vocal about changing things up when it comes to the schedule,” said Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion who drives the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). “When it comes to the 2021 schedule, NASCAR was already looking outside the box of things we can do differently. Out of necessity, how we configure race weekends and when we race will have to be figured out for when we get back to racing this year. It’s actually not a bad thing. Change is different, but it can be good, and we’ll have to think differently and be open-minded to what the rest of this year’s schedule ends up looking like.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for SHR, is of the same mindset as Harvick.

“NASCAR has been pretty straightforward in saying that all options are on the table, including midweek races and more doubleheaders. I’m even more intrigued to see what the TV viewership would look like. I think a midweek race would resonate really well. Fans who worked all day can come home, eat dinner and then relax on the couch while we put on a show. I think it would be pretty cool for them.”

While the Atlanta race weekend originally scheduled for March 13-15 ended up getting postponed, a revised schedule saw a Saturday-only timeline where the NASCAR Cup Series qualified at 11 a.m. and raced at 2 p.m. Practice was scuttled entirely in an effort to get everything completed in a single day.

“I think as soon as everyone got to Atlanta and saw the schedule change, it raised an eyebrow,” said Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for SHR. “We said, ‘Hey, we can do these races in a day.’ I was fine with it. You know we need to do whatever we can do to put on a show for all these fans across the country. If all we have time for is a one-day show, then so be it. I think we can provide enough bang for their buck.”

But what if a condensed schedule meant little to no practice?

“Teams have a lot of data simulation to predict how their car is going drive and handle at a particular track, but it’s not always perfect,” Almirola said. “Oftentimes, we show up to the racetrack, make changes, and make the car better from the time we unload until we get ready for the race. And it helps the driver to just pick up some reference points and kind of adapt to what you have for the balance in your car that weekend.

“Practice is always helpful, even if it’s just a little bit. It would present a challenge to not practice, but it would at least be the same for everybody.” 

Almirola, like his SHR teammates Harvick and Bowyer, are NASCAR Cup Series veterans. But for a rookie seeing some of these venues for the first time, track time is even more cherished.

“Being a rookie, I would rather have the practice session to get a feel for the car and the track going into the race,” said Cole Custer, the first-year driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for SHR. “It would be a little harder just getting one or two qualifying laps in and then going racing. Any time on the racetrack as a rookie is huge – the more, the better. If all we did was qualify, like we were set to do at Atlanta, it would put a lot of emphasis on our preparation going into the weekend. For me, practice is just really important so we can work on the car and get used to the track.”

No matter what the revised calendar ends up being, drivers will adapt.

“In every crisis situation, there are things to be learned and positives to bring out of it,” Bowyer said. “There’s certainly the opportunity to do a midweek race or a one-day show or a doubleheader. All those options are on the table.”

And after a hiatus that will last almost as long as the traditional offseason, how will drivers pick up where they left off when the series departed Phoenix Raceway back on March 8?

“During the offseason, I’m very relaxed, but this is so different,” Almirola said. “My mind is still so focused on racing. I’m continuing to work out and I go through the week with a schedule and stay in shape because, quite honestly, I think it’s going to be even more important to be in tip-top shape when we’re ready to go and the season does start back up because we’re going to be racing a lot.

“We’re talking about running races on the weekend, then midweek, then another the following weekend. If we do that, running three races in a week is going to be a lot. Recovering after the race and getting your body and mind prepped for the next race in a short period of time will be important. I’m focused on eating right, getting plenty of protein, and staying in shape to be as ready as possible for whatever this season has in store for us.”

 

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter at @StewartHaasRcng, on Instagram at @StewartHaasRacing and on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/StewartHaasRacing.

 

Tony Stewart ‘Free Wheeling’ with Newfound Free Time

Born in 1971, Tony Stewart grew up in a robust era of car culture, where manufacturers catered directly to the consumer with unabashedly loud graphics splashed across premium versions of its cars and trucks.

One of the most prominent and iconic graphics packages came from Ford, and it’s one that caught the eye of NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart when he was an 8-year-old racing go-karts in and around his hometown of Columbus, Indiana.

Ford’s Free Wheeling package featured a bright, kaleidoscope color palate that oozed 70s-era swagger. The limited-edition run was available on the F-100, F-150, Bronco, Econoline van and Courier, and even the Pinto Cruising Wagon. But the Free Wheeling version that resonated the most with Stewart was the one on a black Ford Bronco.

“Every year when we went down to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, I would join Edsel Ford and on race morning and we’d judge the Mustang show,” said Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion who co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “This past year they had a bunch of Ford Broncos there too, and that got me thinking about those Broncos with those cool graphics packages I remember seeing back when I was still racing go-karts. I started looking around on the internet and when I finally found it, I knew I had to have it.”

It is a 1979 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT. The year prior, the Bronco migrated to the F-series chassis, giving it full-size proportions. The big, tall sides and wide hood provided the ideal canvas for those vivid stripes that signified the Free Wheeling edition. The Bronco, in particular, amplified those bright graphics with blacked-out bumpers and mirrors. And the sharp looks were more than skin deep, as the Bronco came with a rumbling, 400 cubic-inch V8 that made its presence known even while sitting idle as it rode on quad, heavy-duty shocks and big, 15-by-8-inch wheels. It was this look that Ford featured prominently in its ads, and has since become a cult classic.

“It looks badass,” Stewart said, “but it’s also pretty simple, especially under the hood. I can work on it, and that’s the fun part. There’s an Advance Auto Parts not far down the road from where I went to high school. I can pick up a case of Mobil 1 synthetic, a filter, and do the oil change myself. I can work on it and tinker with it and, you know, I’ve got plenty of time now.”

Stewart, like the rest of the sporting world, is sidelined due to the coronavirus outbreak. Even after retiring as a fulltime NASCAR driver at the end of the 2016 season, the Hoosier has filled his schedule with nearly 100 sprint car races a year. He’s won 23 of those races across a variety of series since his last NASCAR race at Homestead on Nov. 20, 2016. But not being tied to a schedule for the first time in seemingly forever has provided a glimpse of what resides outside a racetrack.

“The rear roof of the Bronco comes off and, honestly, once the weather gets nice, it’ll probably stay off,” Stewart said. “It’s got captain’s chairs up front, but a big bench seat in the back, and with the roof off, that’ll be awesome. I’ve always thought being able to remove the roof was the coolest thing about these Broncos, and now I’ll get to actually enjoy it.”

As much as Stewart relishes his retro Bronco, he’s acutely aware that a new-generation Bronco is getting ready to debut.

“I’m really looking forward to what the new Bronco will look like,” Stewart said. “We kind of got an idea of what it’ll look like when it ran in the Baja 1000 late last year, but that was more of a prototype than anything. I want to see the real deal.”

Would Stewart like to see that real deal with some retro Free Wheeling stripes?

“I’m sure my ’79 Bronco would make a really good big brother,” Stewart said. “Seeing the new one decked out in black with those retro stripes, it would fit right in.”

Stewart Back at the Brickyard

NASCAR Hall of Famer To Compete in NASCAR Xfinity Series Race July 4 at Indianapolis

Tony Stewart will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race July 4 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a Ford Mustang from Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

The three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee will headline the inaugural Xfinity Series event on Indianapolis’ 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, with the 62-lap race serving as Stewart’s 28th overall start at the Brickyard but his first in the Xfinity Series. Stewart has competed in 18 Brickyard 400s, five Indianapolis 500s and four IROC Series races. Stewart is a two-time Brickyard 400 winner (2005 and 2007) and a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

“Everyone knows what Indy means to me, so I can’t think of a better place to race on Fourth of July weekend,” said Stewart, who grew up 45 minutes from Indianapolis in the towns of Columbus and Rushville, Indiana. “It’s going to be cool making history by turning left and right in a stock car at the Brickyard, and the racing will be full of action and contact. Any time you can drive any racecar at the speedway is special, and you know I’m going for the win. The date is already circled on my calendar.”

The road course at Indianapolis has hosted INDYCAR, Formula One, sports cars and even MotoGP, but never NASCAR. And while Stewart is no stranger to Indianapolis, be it in open-wheel Indy cars or full-bodied stock cars, he has never driven the road course in any type of racecar. But Stewart has proven to be prolific when turning left and right. He has eight road-course wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, including his 49th and final career victory in 2016 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Stewart is second to only Jeff Gordon for the most road-course wins in the NASCAR Cup Series with a tally that includes Sonoma in 2001, 2005 and 2016 and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Outside of the NASCAR Cup Series, Stewart has a road-course win in IROC and a near win in the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona. Stewart won Round III of IROC XXX on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course en route to the 2006 series championship. He also competed in the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona five times, with a best finish of third in 2005 with co-drivers Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace. Stewart nearly won the 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona, where with co-drivers Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr., they led 355 of the 526 laps available and had a commanding five-lap advantage before mechanical problems less than 20 minutes short of the finish ended their shot at victory and placed them a disappointing fourth.

Stewart’s most recent road-course outing came in a demonstration run last October at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. He took an SHR-prepared Ford Mustang specially outfitted with a passenger seat around the 3.426-mile, 20-turn layout and showed Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen how to wheel a 3,200-pound racecar around America’s only purpose-built Formula One track.

“It was a lot of fun for me to get in one of our Ford Mustangs and do that exhibition run at COTA,” Stewart said. “It kind of got my juices flowing to get back in a car again, and what better place to come back than Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

The Indiana 150 will mark Stewart’s 95th career Xfinity Series start and his first since the 2013 season opener at Daytona, where Stewart collected his 11th Xfinity Series victory. It will also mark Stewart’s first NASCAR start since the 2016 NASCAR Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“People sometimes say, ‘We miss seeing you behind the wheel,” and I’m like, ‘Well, you’ve just got to go to different places now’,” said Stewart, who has collected 23 wins in an assortment of sprint car races since retiring as a full-time NASCAR driver at the end of the 2016 season. “I’m racing 100 times a year in a sprint car, but seeing some of these road-course races – especially the Roval at Charlotte – piqued my interest a bit, and running the stock car at COTA, it kind of fed my hunger. All of it has led me back to the place I’ve always called home – Indy.”

Details regarding Stewart’s car number, crew and primary partner will be announced closer to the race.

Ford Performance Racing School Partners with Stewart-Haas Racing

The Only School to Wear the Ford Oval Joins No. 98 NASCAR Xfinity Series Team and Driver Chase Briscoe

 

Ford Performance Racing School has partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to become a primary sponsor of its No. 98 NASCAR Xfinity Series entry with driver Chase Briscoe.

The No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang will debut Feb. 21-22 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will be seen 15 more times as Briscoe competes for the Xfinity Series championship after winning rookie-of-the-year honors in 2019. The 25-year-old driver from Mitchell, Indiana, is a two-time Xfinity Series race winner and the 2016 ARCA Racing Series champion.

“The word ‘performance’ is more than just a name when it comes to Ford,” said Briscoe, who drives a magnetic gray Ford

F-150 Raptor when he’s not wheeling his No. 98 Ford Mustang in the Xfinity Series. “The success Ford has earned on the racetrack has gone directly into the development of its road cars, and its line of Ford Performance vehicles is the best of the best. The Ford Performance Racing School is an extension of that, providing Ford Performance vehicle owners the knowledge and skills to get the most from their car, truck or SUV.”

Ford Performance Racing School is the only school to wear the Ford oval, and Ford is the only full-line vehicle manufacturer to offer product-focused experiential driving programs exclusively to the owners of its complete line of performance vehicles, from cars to trucks to SUVs.

“When you have a racing school featuring the latest Ford Mustang GTs, there’s no better way to market our performance driving instruction than with a professional driver who races Mustangs,” said Dan McKeever, president, Ford Performance Racing School. “Chase Briscoe speaks the same language as our customers and demonstrates the capabilities of his racecar in every race he enters. His knowledge of how to operate his Ford Mustang didn’t happen overnight. It came with instruction and repetition, giving him confidence and understanding of his car’s features. That’s what we do for attendees of the Ford Performance Racing School, whether it’s with a new Ford Mustang on the racetrack or a Ford F-150 Raptor on the trails.”

Established in 2006, Ford Performance Racing School operates out of two venues – a dedicated off-road complex in Tooele, Utah, for the Raptor Assault owner program and an at-track operation at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. There, a fleet of Ford Mustang GTs modified with Ford Performance Parts is used for the high-performance driving school, while Fiesta STs, Mustang Shelby GT350s and GT500s are available for their respective track-based owner programs. Each regional facility has a satellite operation featuring Ford Performance SUVs, with locations in Park City, Utah, and Asheville, North Carolina.

About Ford Performance Racing School:
The Ford Performance Racing School is based in Tooele, Utah, approximately 30 minutes southwest of Salt Lake City, and has operations in Tooele and Concord, North Carolina. Along with high-performance driving instruction, the school conducts tire-training courses for BFGoodrich and Michelin, as well as product-focused experiential driving programs for owners of Ford Performance vehicles at no charge. Ford Performance Racing School is the only school to wear the Ford oval. For more information, please visit us online at www.FordPerformanceRacingSchool.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FordPerformanceRacingSchool, on Twitter at @FPRacingSchool, on Instagram at @FordPerformanceRacingSchool and on YouTube. 

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter at @StewartHaasRcng, on Instagram at @StewartHaasRacing and on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/StewartHaasRacing.

HighPoint Partners with Stewart-Haas Racing

Leading Service and Technology Solutions Company Joins No. 98 NASCAR Xfinity Series Team and Driver Chase Briscoe for 10 Primary Races with Associate Sponsorship at All Other Races

 

HighPoint, a leading customer service and technology solutions company, has partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to become the team’s official IT solutions provider and a primary sponsor of its No. 98 NASCAR Xfinity Series entry with driver Chase Briscoe.

The Sparta, New Jersey-based IT company will make its debut in the season-opening NASCAR Racing Experience 300 Feb. 15 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, with Briscoe driving the No. 98 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang. It will be the first of 10 races where HighPoint serves as the team’s primary sponsor. For all other races, HighPoint will be an associate sponsor.

“HighPoint is guided by 33 fundamentals, all of which are based on the principles of honesty, integrity and trust,” said Mike Mendiburu, president and CEO, HighPoint. “We’ve found a like-minded organization in Stewart-Haas Racing and a similarly focused driver in Chase Briscoe. When you combine our service culture with our long-term industry expertise, we’re able to create purpose that aligns in meeting our business objectives.”

Briscoe won the 2019 rookie-of-the-year title in the Xfinity Series and will race for a championship in 2020. The 25-year-old from Mitchell, Indiana, is a two-time winner in the Xfinity Series and the 2016 ARCA Racing Series champion.

“Even though we race stock cars, there’s nothing stock about what we do,” Briscoe said. “The science of our cars is impressive, but the technology that goes into building our Ford Mustangs and then making them perform is even more advanced. Our IT needs are pretty complex, and we demand a lot from our technology every day, whether it’s at the shop or at the track. HighPoint is more than just a sponsor – they’re a partner that helps us perform.”

HighPoint’s partnership with SHR also brings a strong business-to-business component to NASCAR, with the award-winning firm able to service any and all technology needs in a sport where approximately 140 Fortune 500 companies are invested.

“Walk around our race shop during the week and the garage area on a race weekend and you’ll see how our racecars and our entire industry relies on technology,” said Mike Verlander, vice president of sales and marketing, SHR. “From engine diagnostics to fuel-mileage calculations, our business is dependent on service and technology solutions. Every company needs what HighPoint provides, and we’ll work diligently to facilitate those introductions.”

“HighPoint’s objective is to serve our customers as a trusted advisor on how they acquire, consume and adopt technology,” Mendiburu added. “We’re able to highlight this methodology by partnering with Stewart-Haas Racing – a championship-winning race team that has achieved success by working together and leveraging all of its available resources.”

About HighPoint:
HighPoint is a leading customer service and technology solutions company. With its customer-centric, results-driven approach to digital transformation, you get technology that works, delivered by people you want to work with. HighPoint builds lasting relationships with clients, employees and partners based on honesty, integrity, trust and a mutual commitment to growth and success. The company, founded in 1996, is a minority-owned business headquartered in Sparta, New Jersey, serving markets in the tri-state region and southeastern United States, with a presence in Charlotte, North Carolina, and overseas in London. To contact us or learn more about our solutions, please visit www.HighPoint.com.

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

Stewart-Haas eSports Selects Drivers for 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series

Stewart-Haas eSports, the simracing extension of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has named its two drivers for the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series, promoting one accomplished simracer from within its NASCAR team and selecting another veteran simracer from outside the United States.

Justin Bolton is a 24-year-old engineer on SHR’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team who helped Cole Custer to a career-high seven victories in 2019. Bolton has raced in the iRacing World Championship off and on since 2014, accumulating 46 starts with nine top-five finishes and a career-best points result of ninth in 2015. The Latrobe, Pennsylvania, native also has real-world racing experience, as Bolton has raced Legends cars and Late Model stock cars, winning the 2013 Fall Classic at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the Limited Late Model division.

Canadian Dylan Duval is a 24-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The graphic designer debuted in the iRacing World Championship in 2012 and is the first Canadian iRacing winner in series history, taking the virtual checkered flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016. Duval has made 73 starts in his seven-year career, scoring eight top-fives and earning a best points finish of fifth in 2016.

Bolton will race Stewart-Haas eSports’ No. 10 Ford Mustang and Duval will pilot the team’s No. 41 Ford Mustang.

“I’m really proud to be a part of Stewart-Haas eSports and extend my overall role within Stewart-Haas Racing,” Bolton said. “It’s tough to get started in racing and even harder to stay there as a driver. iRacing has allowed me the opportunity to pursue my driving career while trialing some of my ideas from an engineering standpoint. Competing for Stewart-Haas eSports is an excellent way for me to pair my engineering role at SHR with my actual racing experience.”

“I’ve been competing as an independent in iRacing ever since I started in 2012,” Duval said. “To be able to continue my simracing career with such a prestigious organization in Stewart-Haas Racing and be a part of their growing esports involvement makes me genuinely excited. Stewart-Haas eSports has infrastructure and support I’ve never had before. To say I’m looking forward to the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series is a massive understatement.”

The 2020 season will mark the 11th year of the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series and it is the only officially sanctioned esports series of NASCAR. It features the top-40 paved oval simracers in the world who compete in racecar replicas engineered from the ground up in cooperation with real-world race teams, applying accurate mechanical and dynamic models on exact copies of the world’s greatest racing circuits.

The 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series consists of 20 races and begins Feb. 11 at the virtual Daytona International Speedway. The series competes through October with the champion receiving their trophy, ring and check during pre-race ceremonies on Nov. 8 prior to the season-ending NASCAR Cup Series race Phoenix Raceway.

 

About Stewart-Haas eSports:

NASCAR is the ultimate test of driver acumen and mechanical know-how, where teams scrutinize every detail in a never-ending quest for speed. Stewart-Haas Racing has thrived in this environment, winning races and championships to firmly establish its presence in NASCAR. Stewart-Haas eSports emulates these efforts in the virtual world, where sim technology provides a visceral experience that amplifies the grit and determination of NASCAR drivers in the real world. Stewart-Haas eSports is a natural extension of Stewart-Haas Racing, where competition and simulation are one. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com and follow on Twitter @SHR_eSports. 

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

-SHR-

Briscoe Back with Stewart-Haas Racing for Second NASCAR Xfinity Series Season

2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year Ready for Championship Run in 2020

After winning the 2019 rookie-of-the-year title in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Chase Briscoe will race for an Xfinity Series championship in 2020 as he returns to Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

Briscoe is a two-time winner in the Xfinity Series, with both of his victories coming in SHR-prepared Ford Mustangs. The 25-year-old from Mitchell, Indiana, finished fifth in the championship standings in 2019, earning a berth in the NASCAR Playoffs with a win, two poles and 13 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes in his first full season of Xfinity Series competition.

“This is the first time I’ll be able to run back-to-back, full seasons with the same team, and I couldn’t be happier to do it with Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Briscoe, a development driver with Ford Performance. “Their faith in me means a lot, and I want to reward them and Ford with more wins and a run for the championship.”

“We are thrilled to continue Chase’s development program with a second full season running the Xfinity Series for Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “Chase has proven himself well so far and we’re looking forward to continuing his progression as he competes for an Xfinity Series championship for SHR and Ford.”

Briscoe is a third-generation racer whose career began on dirt tracks in and around Indiana. Since he was 13, Briscoe has followed in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, racing sprint cars on the rough and tumble bullrings of the Midwest. It’s a lineage that makes Briscoe a natural fit for SHR, as the Xfinity Series team is co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, an Indiana native who also began his career on dirt.

“We’re very proud to have Chase back with Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “Chase is an Indiana kid with a dirt-track background who has shown he can race on asphalt as well as he can on dirt. We think very highly of him and look forward to a strong season in 2020.”

Briscoe has thrived in his transition to NASCAR, which began after a six-win campaign in the 2016 ARCA Racing Series earned him the championship by a whopping 535 points. He advanced to the NASCAR Truck Series in 2017, earning four poles and winning the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Briscoe’s 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes allowed him to make the playoffs, finish sixth in points and score the series’ rookie-of-the-year and most popular driver awards.

Briscoe parlayed a limited Xfinity Series schedule in 2018 where he drove for both SHR and Roush-Fenway Racing into a full-time drive in 2019 for SHR. He earned his first career Xfinity Series victory on Sept. 29, 2018 in just his 14th career start when he won the inaugural race at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval. Briscoe scored his second Xfinity Series win in his 36th career start July 27, 2019 at Iowa Speedway in Newton.

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

Introducing Stewart-Haas eSports

Rebranded eSports Team Will Compete in eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has rebranded and bolstered its online sports presence with newly named Stewart-Haas eSports set to compete in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series beginning with the 2020 season.

Stewart-Haas eSports will field two teams in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series with drivers, numbers and car designs being announced at a later date. The 2020 season will mark the 11th year of the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series and it is the only officially sanctioned Esports series of NASCAR.

“We’ve put a lot of time and energy into our eSports efforts and we’re confident of the team we can put forth in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series,” said Mike Verlander, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Stewart-Haas Racing. “The authenticity of iRacing and its global reach is unparalleled. Ideally, our eSports presence facilitates even greater interest in our on-track product in both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series, while simultaneously providing our partners with another strong engagement platform.”

The eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series features the top-40 paved oval sim racers in the world. They compete in racecar replicas engineered from the ground up in cooperation with real-world race teams, applying accurate mechanical and dynamic models on exact copies of the world’s greatest racing circuits.

The 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series begins in February at the virtual Daytona International Speedway and runs through October with the series champion receiving their trophy, ring and check during pre-race ceremonies on Nov. 8 prior to the season-ending NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

The 2020 season will mark Stewart-Haas eSports’ first year in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series, but it won’t be the organization’s first stint in eSports. Stewart-Haas eSports won the inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship in October under its previous moniker, Stewart-Haas Gaming. The name change to Stewart-Haas eSports better aligns the outfit with the burgeoning eSports industry. Stewart-Haas eSports will defend its eNASCAR Heat Pro League title in 2020 where it will again field two drivers in the console-based series – one for Xbox One and the other for PlayStation 4. 

About Stewart-Haas Esports:

NASCAR is the ultimate test of driver acumen and mechanical know-how, where teams scrutinize every detail in a never-ending quest for speed. Stewart-Haas Racing has thrived in this environment, winning races and championships to firmly establish its presence in NASCAR. Stewart-Haas eSports emulates these efforts in the virtual world, where sim technology provides a visceral experience that amplifies the grit and determination of NASCAR drivers in the real world. Stewart-Haas eSports is a natural extension of Stewart-Haas Racing, where competition and simulation are one. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com and follow on Twitter @SHR_eSports.

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

Stewart-Haas Racing Announces 2020 Crew Chief Lineup for NASCAR Cup Series Teams

Mike Shiplett Promoted to No. 41 Team Crew Chief; Mike Bugarewicz Moves to No. 10 Team and John Klausmeier Moves to No. 14 Team; Rodney Childers Remains with No. 4 Team for Seventh Straight Season

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has announced the 2020 crew chief lineup for its four NASCAR Cup Series teams.

The most notable change is the promotion of crew chief Mike Shiplett to the No. 41 team. SHR brings Shiplett up from its NASCAR Xfinity Series program where he spent the 2019 season guiding Cole Custer to a career-high seven wins and six poles with a runner-up finish in the championship standings. Shiplett will be paired with Custer again in 2020, as the 21-year-old Custer runs for rookie-of-the year honors

Crew chiefs John Klausmeier and Mike “Buga” Bugarewicz will swap teams, with Klausmeier going to the No. 14 team of Clint Bowyer and Bugarewicz going to the No. 10 team of Aric Almirola.

Klausmeier has been the No. 10 crew chief since 2018, where he and Almirola combined for 29 top-10 finishes, highlighted by a victory on Oct. 14, 2018 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The duo made the NASCAR Playoffs in each of their two seasons together, with Almirola finishing a career-best fifth in the 2018 championship.

Bugarewicz has led the No. 14 team since 2016, where he was Tony Stewart’s crew chief for his last NASCAR season before being paired with Bowyer in 2017. Bugarewicz helped Stewart secure his 49th and final NASCAR Cup Series victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and continued winning with Bowyer, securing two victories in 2018 – March 26 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and June 10 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn – as part of a three-year stint that garnered 47 top-10s and two appearances in the NASCAR Playoffs.

Rodney Childers returns as Kevin Harvick’s crew chief with the No. 4 team for the seventh straight year. Since joining forces in 2014, Childers and Harvick have combined to produce 26 victories, 25 poles, 106 top-five finishes and 153 top-10s. They have led 9,608 laps and made the Championship 4 five times in the last six years. They won the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series title and have finished runner-up twice, to 2015 champion Kyle Busch and to 2018 champion Joey Logano.

“Our biggest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people, and we strive to put each person in the best position to succeed,” said Greg Zipadelli, Vice President of Competition, SHR. “Our driver/crew chief pairings for next season reflect this ideology, and we believe this lineup provides the best opportunity to win every time we unload our Ford Mustangs at the racetrack.”

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 70 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.