HScott Motorsports announces it won’t field any teams in 2017

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Monday afternoon’s news that HScott Motorsports won’t field a NASCAR team was another reminder of one auto racing’s oldest jokes, which is also one of its oldest truisms.

“How do you make a small fortune in auto racing?”

“Start with a large fortune.”

That’s not to make light of the team’s closure or the employees who inevitably will lose their jobs. On the contrary, it’s proof how brutal and cruel a sport auto racing can be: If you aren’t one of the top teams, finding the money to keep racing can be very, very difficult.

And even the big teams struggle.

As recently as 2009, Roush Fenway Racing fielded five full-time cars in the NASCAR Premier Series. Next year, they will have just two.

HScott owner Harry Scott Jr. fielded 189 entries in NASCAR Premier Series races, including 71 in 2016 with drivers Michael Annett and Clint Bowyer. Those starts produced no top-five and just four top-10 finishes, and not enough money to continue the team.

Monday, Scott told his team that they would not field any cars next year.

“Over the past several months I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team. Regrettably there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017,” Scott said in a statement.

In addition to not fielding a Cup team next year, HScott will not compete in the NASCAR K&N Series, where it won four straight championships.

“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. Looking back, I will always be especially proud of the unprecedented success of our NASCAR K&N Series teams, including four consecutive championships and for the lifelong friendships that were forged over the last seven years. My hope is that we were able to develop drivers that will thrive at the highest levels for years to come.”

As far as charters go, the team said they sold the charter for the No. 15 Cup car that Bowyer drove last year to Premium Motorsports. HScott had leased a charter for Annett’s car from Premium Motorsports, but that one was sold to Furniture Row Racing for the team’s new second car with driver Erik Jones.

Bowyer sued the team for $2.2 million he said he was owed for driving in 2016, but the suit was recently settled.