Kevin Harvick: ‘We’re all in’ on trying to solve what teammate Tony Stewart needs to improve


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kevin Harvick said Stewart-Haas Racing is zeroed in on improving Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet, but the defending series champion isn’t sure his blazing fast car holds the answer.

Harvick’s No. 4 Chevy won Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and has finished first or second in six consecutive Sprint Cup races dating to last season, which brought his first title in NASCAR’s premier series.

So why not drop Harvick’s setup into the car driven by Stewart, who has opened 2015 with finishes of 42nd (Daytona 500), 30th (Atlanta Motor Speedway) and 33rd (Las Vegas)?

Because their disparate approaches to driving ensure it wouldn’t work.

“So much to do with it is style, and a lot of that is just communication between you and your engineers and everybody being on the same page,” Harvick said during a Tuesday news conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to promote Martinsville Speedway’s March 27-29 race weekend. “If we just put my stuff in Tony’s car, it’d be hard to just say that’s going to fix all the problems. But right now, everyone is in an analyzing phase of really trying to understand exactly what direction we need to go to help, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

          SHR mostly has struggled across the board outside of Harvick’s car. Danica Patrick hasn’t started or finished in the top 15. Regan Smith has done a respectably consistent job in place of suspended Kurt Busch, finishing 16th, 17th and 16th as a substitute.

Harvick said there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and credits his success mostly to his relationship with crew chief Rodney Childers. Since teaming before last season, the duo has notched six victories, 17 top fives and 23 top 10s in 39 starts.

“As you look at packages and the way (the SHR teammates) drive, they are drastically different in throttle traces and steering traces and feels,” Harvick said. “Whether it’s myself or Danica or Tony, everybody wants something different in their cars. So the biggest thing we’re fortunate to have going for us is Rodney and I just had so much time to really sit and work on everything and just talk about every little detail before we even went to the racetrack.

“I get in my cars and never have to touch anything or move anything. It’s just always perfect. I’m in a fortunate spot, but we’re all in on trying to figure out exactly what Tony needs and really help him get back to where he needs to be”

Harvick, who will be testing Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway before heading west again to race at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, said SHR hadn’t been able to hold its weekly competition meeting because of harried schedules.

“Honestly, I haven’t spoken to anyone about what exactly (Stewart was) fighting on the weekend, so I don’t have a 100% answer on exactly what was wrong,” Harvick said. “I haven’t talked to Tony or (competition director Greg) Zipadelli because everybody’s all over the country right now, so it’s kind of hard to communicate.”

NASCAR weekend schedule at World Wide Technology Raceway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.