Stewart-Haas teammates now competing against each other – for jobs

The competition amongst teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing now has future career implications.

“Up until the announcement, we worked so well together and really tried to balance things off of each other and tried to help each other out,” Chase Briscoe said. “I think we still are doing that, but I would say at the same time, we all know what’s happening. All four of us are competing for the same jobs, so we still want to help each other out, but it’s definitely probably become… not cutthroat, but we all know. We know that one of us is potentially going to get left out of a ride, or two of us, or whatever. So it has changed the dynamic a little bit.”

Stewart-Haas announced two weeks ago that it is closing its doors at the end of the current NASCAR season. It means four drivers – Briscoe, Ryan Preece, Josh Berry and Noah Gragson – are on the job market. There are also members from four race teams plus other employees all looking for what it is next.


Briscoe, like his teammates, first has to see what seats are available in the NASCAR Cup Series. In his case, the texts and phone calls began before even leaving the race shop the day ownership confirmed to employees that the end was coming.

“We still all get together,” Briscoe continued. “Just before this, we all sat down and were going through Iowa (Speedway) stuff together, so we still know that at the end of the day, us helping each other out is only going to boost the performance of all of us and we need to do that to show our worth. It’s been a cool dynamic, truthfully, just getting to be around those guys and be around a group that is all relatively the same age as me, and even from the experience standpoint we’re all kind of the same. In the past, I never really had that as far as teammates go, so it’s been a lot of fun.”

Briscoe said this year is the most fun he’s had at Stewart-Haas. Although he got along with Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola, both of whom have retired, and with reigning Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer, there is a different camaraderie between the Cup Series drivers. Briscoe is the longest-tenured at Stewart-Haas. Preece was brought into the fold last season, while Berry and Gragson joined this season.

It’s going to be a taxing few months ahead for Briscoe, his teammates and Stewart-Haas team members. Briscoe said he will not fault any employee who takes a new job before the season ends. But it puts the organization in a difficult position to perform each weekend.

“I’d be lying if I said we’re not at a disadvantage when we show up to the racetrack,” he said. “Every other team that we’re racing against, all they focus on week in and week out is how to make their race car go fast that weekend. At our place, we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to provide for our families next year, where we’re going to work next year, and on top of all of that, how am I going to get a fast race car to the racetrack? So, it’s 100% a real thing. It’s going to go in ebbs and flows.

“These first three to four weeks post the time we got told will be telling. I know every single guy on my team right now is taking interviews… and then I think if we can survive that four or five-week stretch, if they stay those first five weeks after, then they’re probably in it for the long haul.”

The expectation is that toward the end of the season, the action will pick back up for those without something signed for next year. One employee is leaving this week, as Briscoe discovered when going through the shop.

“So, it’s real. It’s 100% real,” Briscoe said. “But as far as the road crew guys go, I’m pretty confident that all of them are committed for the long haul. We’re a pretty tight-knit group… they’re easily one of the top three groups in the garage. I’m pretty confident we’ll be able to stick it out. But the shop guys and stuff like that, it’s going to be a challenge for sure.”

Briscoe is the highest Stewart-Haas driver in the point standings (17th). Berry is 23rd and Gragson is 24th. Preece is the lowest-sitting Stewart-Haas driver at 26th in the standings.

Story originally appeared on Racer