Dale Earnhardt Jr doesn’t want NASCAR to lose Tony Stewart

Stewart-Haas Racing may cease to exist once the season ends

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is hearing the same scuttlebutt in the garage that everyone else is and he really hopes this isn’t the end of the line for Tony Stewart as a NASCAR Cup Series mainstay.

Right now, it’s believed that Stewart-Haas Racing has already sold two ownership charters ahead of next season, plus one of its two race shops, and that the other two charters will go before all is said and done. And without a Cup Series anchor operation, the two-car Xfinity Series program doesn’t seem likely to stay either.

Earnhardt, speaking on his Dale Jr Download podcast, says it would be a shame if this leads to Stewart no longer being an active participant in the sport.

“I heard that their range is $20 million to $30 million, for a charter,” Earnhardt said of his longtime friend. “One of the last ones that sold was for $40 million, and so now they’re kind of going through a bit of a reset. I mean, I know one sold for $40 million, but from everything that I’ve learned, and all the things that we’ve dug up over the last three or four years, the true value is not near $40 million.

“So yeah, $20M to $25M is more in the ballpark of what I think they should be going for. The question is, will Stewart-Haas sell all four of them? Does Tony Stewart and [Gene] Haas get out entirely? Holy shit, that would be weird.

“But I mean, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of — I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate. But I hope that Tony Stewart doesn’t leave NASCAR entirely. That would suck. I just think he’s an icon. He’s a motorsports icon. Done it all.”

Stewart scoffs at the notion but he has received a lot of criticism in recent years for going all in with his NHRA drag racing operation, now a full-time competitor at the highest levels. Earnhardt knows the three-time champion has a lot of passions and motivations, but again, he doesn’t want to lose Stewart’s presence in NASCAR.

“Even though he physically wants to spend a lot of time with his drag racing, and he’s a performer and drives and he’s still out there actively racing, I still love the idea of him having ownership in anything in our sport, because of his legacy,” Earnhardt said. “He’s an icon. He’s like A.J. Foyt.

“So I hope that that’s not what happens. I hope that they don’t entirely remove themselves from the sport. We’ll see how that goes, man. That’s pretty crazy.”

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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