Mark Kent, Chevrolet’s director of motorsports competition, has described Ford’s joining forces with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 as a “bold move” but he's pledged support for SHR to season’s end.
Kent told Motorsport.com: “Ford hasn’t won a drivers’ or manufacturers’ championship in over a decade. So obviously they’ve been looking at Chevrolet and realizing it takes great teams and great depth to be able to win championships.
“We’ve been able to win the last 13 manufacturers’ titles and nine of the last 11 drivers’ championships. So Ford realized they had to do something. They made a bold move.”
Haas CNC Racing, as it was named when formed in 2003, has hitherto been a GM team, and since Tony Stewart joined as driver and co-owner in 2009, the rebranded Stewart-Haas Racing has achieved 31 wins.
High points have been Stewart winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2011 and Kevin Harvick – current points leader – clinching the 2014 title.
But late last month, SHR announced it was to switch from Chevrolet to Ford, starting next season.
While Kent acknowledged the achievements of SHR, he stated that the team’s use of Hendrick Motorsports equipment had also made the team susceptible to outside offers.
“Satellite teams are obviously the easiest takeover candidates,” he observed, “because they don’t build their own chassis, don’t build their own engines and so it’s easier for them to switch alliances.
“But they have been a great partner for Chevrolet and a great performer for the brand, and so for 2016, our focus is to continue supplying Stewart-Haas with the equipment to continue winning races and fighting for championships.”