Author: Dawson Haywood
The Charlotte area is notorious for being “America’s Home For Racing”. If you are from the area, it is hard to ignore how much of an impact racing has on the local economy. Along Bruton Smith Boulevard you pass ZMax Dragway, The Dirt Track at Charlotte, and of course Charlotte Motor Speedway. Off that same road is home to one of NASCAR’s winningest teams, Hendrick Motorsports. North Carolina alone is home to fifteen NASCAR teams but what a lot of locals may not know is that Kannapolis, North Carolina is also home to a Formula 1 racing team.
NASCAR fans became familiar with the Stewart-Haas Racing Team when three-time NASCAR Cup Champion Tony Stewart stepped away from Joe Gibbs Racing, another team headquartered in the Charlotte area, and made a deal with Gene Hass to drive for the team as well as receive 50% ownership in 2009. It was founded in 2002 as Haas CNC Racing after Haas, whose company was a sponsor of Hendrick Motorsports, elected to form his own team.
The NASCAR team races four Ford Mustangs driven by Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, and Cole Custer. Since the team’s founding, they have won two NASCAR Cup Championships in 2011 with Tony Stewart and in 2014 with Kevin Harvick. The team also has 65 wins on its resume since its founding. Stewart-Hass also provides the Xfinity Series with one racer, Riley Herbst.
The Stewart-Haas Racing Team also has a sister company, Haas Formula LLC. The two teams are separate entities because Tony Stewart does not have any stake in the formula one team and focuses on NASCAR business operations.
Formula 1 is vastly different than NASCAR and is significantly less popular in the United States. Formula 1 has 10 teams in the circuit which is significantly less than NASCAR’s 17. What is interesting and why Charlotte locals should care about the Haas Formula 1 team is because they are the only American-based Formula 1 team.
Formula 1 racing is the highest level of racing that is offered on the market today. Cars are built to be the highest class racing vehicle that money can buy. The Formula 1 World Championship is comprised of 24 races that take place across every continent except Africa and Antarctica. The most prestigious and popular race in the series is the Monaco Race formally called the Grand Prix De Monaco.
The most famous Formula 1 race happened in Monaco in 2010 when genius, billionaire, playboy, and team owner Tony Stark decided to participate in the race when he claimed “There’s no point in owning a race car if you can’t drive it”. The race was never finished because terrorist Ivan Vanko, who disguised himself as a trackside safety marshal, attacked Tony Stark’s vehicle in the middle of the race.
Formula 1 standings are split into two different categories the Driver Standings and the Constructor (or team) Standings. Racer Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes Racing Team have won every championship except one since 2014 and have shown no signs of letting up. They currently hold first place in both standings.
The Haas Formula 1 team is the youngest team to participate in the World Championship Series and is the first American-led team to enter the circuit in the last three decades. Their vehicles are powered by supercar manufacturer Ferrari and driven by German Mick Schumacher and Russian Nikita Mazepin.
The team came out the gate hot and had the best debut of a Formula 1 team in the 21st century. Since the team’s founding, they have finished as high as fifth in the circuit but have fallen over the last three seasons. With three races under this season’s belt, the two racers are currently standing in 18th and 19th position out of twenty, and the team is sitting at last place in the constructor standings.
Though the team has not had much success recently it is still interesting that Kannapolis, North Carolina of all places is where the only American Formula 1 team in three decades calls home. If the team were to be successful in the World Championship Formula 1 would likely become more popular for people in the local area and across the United States.