HScott Motorsports, which fielded two Sprint Cup cars during the 2016 season, has suspended operations and will not compete in NASCAR in 2017.
The team did not have any drivers nor sponsors lined up for next season. Driver Clint Bowyer, who finished 27th in the standings, had signed a one-year deal in September 2015 as a stop-gap before heading to Stewart-Haas Racing to replace Tony Stewart in 2017.
Michael Annett, who has the Pilot Flying J sponsorship, finished 36th in the standings and opted to take that sponsor to JR Motorsports and compete in the Xfinity Series next year.
Team owner Harry Scott formed the team after purchasing Phoenix Racing from James Finch in 2013. Scott had fielded two Cup cars the last two seasons.
“Over the past several months I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team,” Scott said in a statement. “Regrettably there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017.”
“One thing I learned about NASCAR is that it is a ‘people business.’ I will forever be grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to make HScott Motorsports successful.”
Scott had leased a charter from Premium Motorsports owner Jay Robinson for Annett’s No. 46 car in 2016. That charter was returned to Premium, who then sold it to Furniture Row Racing, which is adding a car for rookie Erik Jones next season. Premium then bought the single charter Scott owned for the No. 15 car of Bowyer.
Owners of the 36 charters carry a guaranteed starting spot — and more guaranteed revenue than noncharter cars — for every Sprint Cup race, where the field is a maximum 40 cars. A charter owner can lease a charter for one year but then must use it or sell it. Charter teams also get extra money based on their performance over the last three years, and any charter team that finishes among the bottom three teams for three consecutive years can have its charter revoked.
That makes the charter of the No. 15 car for Bowyer — the one Premium now has — slightly more valuable than the charter of the No. 46 car it sold to Furniture Row. Not only did the No. 15 car have a better performance, the No. 46 car was among the bottom three charter teams in 2016, the first year of the charter system.
“I love this sport and being part of it,” Scott said. “I invested in NASCAR because I truly believe it represents the best racing competition in the world and the best people in all sports.”