By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas — After four months of negotiations, a technical alliance has been made Friday as Go Fas Racing confirmed that beginning next season, they’ll be joining forces with Stewart-Haas Racing for a one-year deal.
In addition of having a relationship with Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines, GFR will get chassis, data and technical support from SHR.
Since joining the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2014, owner Archie St. Hilaire said he’s exciting making that tremendous leap as they’ll have brand new equipment instead of cars that dating back from 2012-13.
“We really have no alliance. We’re one of the small teams that don’t have an alliance, so I think going in the technology is going to be huge for us,” St. Hilaire said. “We’re going to be getting stuff that’s on the track right now. We’ll have a batch of cars to start with and then the engineering piece and all of that put together.
“We’re now working on our motor program and I think we’ll be competitive.
“Are we going to win races? No. I’m not going to say that. Speedway races, anything can happen but as far as mile-and-a-halves and short tracks, we’ll be much competitive.”
The reason behind the announcement coming out now was a result of SHR having three drivers (Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick) in the playoffs. Now that it’s just Harvick left, St. Hilaire said it was easier to sort out a deal.
“When we started talking about it, they said they make 10-15 cars a year depending how bad they get damage. I said, ‘Alright, we’ll take 10-12 of those cars.’
“The new ones you build, we’ll just fill in the void that you have because they want to build new cars anyway. We’ll take those but we’re getting current inventories that’s been running the last few weeks.”
St. Hilaire said that his business approach is one year at a team to avoid the pain of a bad partnership and with the new car coming out in 2021, he hopes aligning with SHR pans out.
“We’re really looking to establish something with them, so when the new car comes out, we’ll stay along with them,” St. Hilaire said. “If we don’t trip over ourselves and get better, we’ll continue because it’s a lot of money too. We got to get a return in our investment.”
Friday’s announcement added further speculations as whether or not GFS will pursue NASCAR Xfinity Series star and SHR driver Cole Custer to run for Sunoco NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors.
St. Hilaire quickly debunked the Custer rumor and wants to re-sign LaJoie because he’s satisfied with everyone on the No. 32 Ford Mustang squad.
“We really want Corey to come back. I think in a couple of weeks, we’ll know where we’re going,” St. Hilaire said. “That’s kind of the goal because we worked well together. Our crew chief (Randy Cox) works well with him. For a small team, I think we had a decent year.
“I think going forward if we just jump into Daytona where anything can happen, but when we start going to Las Vegas, California and Phoenix with the same group.
“We don’t want to change any person in this organization. Everybody that works here, we’re happy with and we want to continue with the same driver and crew chief. Negotiations is business but I think that’s where it’s going to end up.”
LaJoie has scored two top-10s this season and sits 29th in points with three races left. In 2020, St. Hilaire’s goal is to move up 5-6 spots in the championship standings as their race objective is competing with the likes of Austin Dillon instead of the top guns that are fighting for the championship.
“He doesn’t go out there like he did in year’s past and wreck stuff,” St. Hilaire said. “He listens to what we say and racing for points which I really like because he’s not out there saying, ‘I want to win this race.’ He knows our goal.
“We have a certain group we race with and we want to be better than them every week. We highlight five or six teams that we’re racing on the screen and race against them. Yeah, we’re in the same race with Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., and Joey Logano – but we’re racing in our race.
“He gets that and that’s been important to us as a small team. Not go out there and tear shit up that costs us a lot of money. He cares as a group and so do we.”