With Stewart-Haas Racing switching to Ford in 2017, many seem surprised that Team Chevy staple Kevin Harvick is staying on through the switch. He’s been with Chevrolet since before signing on with Richard Childress Racing all those years ago, so to imagine him anywhere else is jarring, but considering that he’s adamant about sticking with SHR, why debate it?
A recent BeyondTheFlag.com article by Christopher Olmstead does just that, claiming that it’s a possibility following the 2016 season if he doesn’t follow through with the option to renew for 2017. While the point is there that Harvick may opt out following 2016, is it likely? Not in the slightest. It would be a career-ending move as opposed as something to elevate his career – would it seriously need elevating?
Olmstead implores readers to remember various instances, like when SHR co-owner Tony Stewart left Toyota after giving his word he was sticking with then-owner Joe Gibbs or when Kevin Harvick announced his departure from RCR. Granted, things may be promised one way only to go another way. It’s a well-known fact of racing life that things are sometimes unpredictable.
But take into consideration what happened during Harvick’s first season with SHR:
Take also into consideration that into his third season with SHR, he has managed to lead more laps in the No. 4 than he ever did in all his time as the driver of Childress’s No. 29. Take also into consideration that if things had gone a bit differently in 2015 he could have easily scored a career-high in wins, as he finished second an astounding 13 times. He’s been dominant in SHR equipment, so why would that change?
On that note, look at Team Penske power. Hypothetically speaking, it’s a logical assumption to say that Penske will be collaborating with SHR in 2017. Penske is currently the best Ford team in NASCAR, bar none. On the Sprint Cup side of things, rookie Ryan Blaney has managed to make the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford more relevant than they’ve been in years. As for their star drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, let the stats speak for themselves.
Since switching to Ford in 2013, Logano has 12 wins, 50 top-fives, and 71 top-10s in 112 starts. In that same amount of time, Keselowski has nine wins, 36 top-fives, and 63 top-10s. Do the math: SHR will not be hurting or suffering once they make the jump to Ford. Logano and Keselowski alone have accomplished more with Ford than what the entirety of SHR has done with Chevy, so it’s a safe bet that they won’t argue with whatever brings them more success.
If Harvick is anything like Stewart, which – newsflash! – he is, then he’s thinking the same thing, and it isn’t manufacturer loyalty. He’s thinking about winning. Winning early, winning often, and winning championships. So with that being said, Harvick isn’t going anywhere.