Denny Hamlin points to NASCAR’s business model as a factor behind Tony Stewart leaving the sport

Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart of NASCAR
Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart of NASCAR

Denny Hamlin recently pointed to one factor that, in his opinion, contributed to Tony Stewart deciding to pull the plug on Stewart Haas Racing. After weeks of speculation, Stewart Haas Racing recently announced their decision to leave NASCAR at the end of the 2024 season.

While a number of reasons and factors contributed to the decision, Hamlin pointed to the one factor that, in his opinion, played a big role.

During the latest episode of the Actions Detrimental podcast, Hamlin was asked whether the ship of SHR had been sinking for a while or if it was a sudden decision. Hamlin claimed that a decision of this magnitude is not taken all of a sudden. He believes that the reasons were built "over time."

"You can debate how it happened over time but regardless it still shows ... had NASCAR's media dollars covered what it costs to run a car, they would not be shutting down. But unfortunately were still under a sponsorship model that forces us to get millions and millions of dollars in sponsorships just to break even and what that does is it forces teams like SHR to make a tough decision when it comes down to it and they don't have the sponsorships that they had in the years past. So I think they're tired dealing with the higher ups and I think they're just done with it," Hamlin described. [1:06:10]

Denny Hamlin believes SHR leaving NASCAR isn't ideal

Further sharing his thoughts on SHR's NASCAR exit, Hamlin claimed that it is "not ideal" to have a four car team closing shop. However, as mentioned earlier, Hamlin feels that SHR were simply done with NASCAR. In his opinion, SHR were not keen on incurring any more losses.

"Sponsorship wasn't flowing out of its ears at the organization versus Gene and Tony just keep putting more money into this, just keep sinking money into it to put on a NASCAR show. I think they said, 'Screw this. We're out. We're not going to sit here and go under financial water just to keep your show going. That doesn't make sense to us,'" Hamlin claimed.

According to the 23XI Racing co-owner, Tony Stewart and Gene Haas made the decision to leave NASCAR even though that would leave many of their employees without work next season.

However, Hamlin added that the good ones will find new homes as there are other teams which will be looking to expand.

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