Former NASCAR star Tony Stewart is injecting more financial fuel into his all-star racing series.
Stewart’s Superstar Racing Experience, also known as SRX Racing, has raised $8 million in its latest funding round at a $40 million valuation. The added cash flow allows the summer series, which was founded by a consortium that includes the Hall of Fame driver, to expand its footprint and capitalize on potential international opportunities.
Agency giant Endeavor and hedge fund manager Jamie Dinan are among other sports owners who were part of the latest funding round. Both have varying ownership experiences. Endeavor owns Ultimate Fighting Championship and Professional Bull Riders, while Dinan is co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and recently gained a stake in French soccer club Lyon.
“We have new investors, new drivers, new tracks and a new network,” Bruin Capital CEO and SRX co-founder George Pyne said in a video interview. “We’ve got a lot of momentum going into the third year, with an enhanced product. We’ve got money now to invest in the business outside of the racetrack. For a [young] sports property, that’s uncommon.”
Not only is SRX entering its third season with more growth capital, but it is also upgrading its driver sheet. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is one of the new drivers who have inked deals to compete this season. Busch, who drove the M&M-sponsored No. 18 Toyota for 15 years in NASCAR, will join another former champion in Kevin Harvick. Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney are among other active Cup drivers who have competed in an SRX race.
The racing startup, which made its debut in 2021, was founded by Stewart, Pyne—the former COO of NASCAR—Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham and Montag Group CEO Sandy Montag. Inner Circle Sports served as the exclusive advisor for this latest funding round, according to a source familiar with the deal.
SRX has created a unique business model that features former champions competing in equally prepared cars that leave little room for competitive advantage. The single-entity promotion has already broken even on its original investment in large part due to low capital costs, with innovations such as delivering its own cars to drivers, and having venues pay the company to host the short track races.
While several startup sports leagues have floundered after three years of existence, SRX is bullish on its trajectory, as more sophisticated investors come into the fold and more high-profile stars get behind the wheel.
Despite the cash injection, CEO Don Hawk says SRX is slated to run this year’s race operations on a similar budget as last year. But the new funds provide the opportunity to begin exploring extensions of its overall business strategy. This potentially means introducing driving schools or eventually building its own branded stock cars that would be available for short tracks to purchase.
Meanwhile, the startup has sold out 10 of its 12 races through its first two seasons. The leadership behind the series is considering expanding the schedule to eight races in the future—if that works for its new media partner.
SRX is set to begin its first season with ESPN, which recently replaced CBS Sports as the official media rights partner. The summer racing series will switch from airing on Saturdays to Thursdays as part of the multiyear deal. ESPN aims to rekindle its once popular Thursday Night Thunder property, which will take on the same branding for these six races.
The growing popularity of Formula One could also be helpful for SRX, as F1’s audience demographic overlaps. SRX hopes aligning with ESPN will help galvanize and attract more casual sports fans and further separate the property from other racing promotions.