Stewart-Haas Racing has plenty of decisions to make in the coming weeks and months as the team could see a massive turnover in its driver lineup. This is most notably featured by the upcoming retirement of Kevin Harvick at the conclusion of the 2023 NASCAR season.
The No. 4 car will be left vacant while Aric Almirola, the driver of the No. 10 car, could follow in Harvick’s footsteps and step away after Phoenix Raceway in November. If so, there will be at least two openings at Stewart-Haas Racing with potentially another as Ryan Preece has a one-year deal.
Chase Briscoe is the only certainty at the organization as he signed a multi-year contract before the season. However, Briscoe could find himself paired with another NASCAR driver for the 2024 season sooner rather than later.
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Stewart-Haas Racing could announce Kevin Harvick’s replacement soon after latest news
The 2023 season has been a crazy one to this point. Chase Elliott missed six weeks with a fractured left tibia in a snowboarding accident ahead of the race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway while Alex Bowman suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car racing accident following the weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Meanwhile, Cody Ware was indefinitely suspended after being arrested on a felony charge of assault by strangulation and a misdemeanor charge of assault. Rick Ware Racing has been using substitute drivers for several races now. One of these situations actually affects Stewart-Haas Racing.
It was announced on Wednesday morning during the week of the Coca-Cola 600 that Bowman would return to the No. 48 car for Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman ended up missing four weeks but only three points races due to the NASCAR All-Star Race.
This might seem irrelevant due to Stewart-Haas Racing but here is the catch. Josh Berry, a driver for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has been the super substitute for Hendrick Motorsports in place of Elliott and Bowman.
The reason why this is so significant goes back to the fact that Berry is considered the top candidate to replace Harvick in the No. 4 car next season. It doesn’t stop there with the clues for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Larry McReynolds, a racing analyst for FOX Sports, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he wouldn’t be surprised if the public knows what Berry will be doing next season by Memorial Day weekend.
This means there is a possibility that Berry’s plans could be announced by the Coca-Cola 600. If the reports of him being the top candidate for Stewart-Haas Racing are correct, all of the dots come together for a potential announcement as early as this weekend.
The JR Motorsports driver could be on his way to the Cup Series and it would be a solid move for both sides. Stewart-Haas Racing needs to be perfectly executing these moves as one of NASCAR’s greats steps away for good.
If Berry does find himself in the No. 4 car next season, who else could join the team? Keep reading to find out three ideal candidates for Stewart-Haas Racing below!
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3 ideal drivers for Stewart-Haas Racing to hire for the 2024 NASCAR season
There are several solid candidates for Stewart-Haas Racing to hire for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season and beyond. The first one is the defending NASCAR Truck Series champion from Front Row Motorsports.
Zane Smith is a hot commodity for Ford and he will have a full-time ride in the Cup Series very soon. Smith, 23, is the defending Truck Series champion and currently has two wins during the 2023 season.
The 23-year-old driver would be a perfect driver for Front Row Motorsports; however, his talent and potential should allow him to join a more competitive organization. Smith would be a good fit as it would allow the team to have another young driver.
Riley Herbst would have been a surprising name to hear just a few months ago; however, the driver of the No. 98 car has really shown that he can be a quality driver in NASCAR overall. Herbst, 24, currently sits ninth in the point standings with six top-10 finishes through 11 races.
The 24-year-old driver has Monster Energy so it would allow Stewart-Haas Racing to grab a driver with sponsorship and talent. Herbst should be near the top of the list and if he has a breakout season, this will be an easy decision.
Todd Gilliland currently drives the No. 38 car for Front Row Motorsports in the Cup Series and he would be a brilliant option for Stewart-Haas Racing. Gilliland, 23, sits 23rd in the point standings above the likes of Erik Jones, Arc Almirola, Ryan Preece, Austin Dillon, and more.
The 23-year-old driver could be looking to move out of Front Row Motorsports and to be a better team starting next year after the organization made him a part-time driver for a period of time. The idea of joining an organization with a winning culture could make Gilliland flourish.
Stewart-Haas Racing will have plenty of decisions to make for the 2024 NASCAR season; however, the organization should be really attractive to drivers looking for a shot in solid Cup Series equipment.
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