HAMPTON, Ga. – Kevin Harvick, a Chevrolet driver throughout his NASCAR career, said his approach won’t change in the wake of Stewart-Haas Racing’s 2017 move to Ford.
“I got a great team, I’ve got great people, I’ve got a great organization that’s wanting to win races,” Harvick said while walking between the Xfinity and Sprint Cup garages Friday morning at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “To not be committed to them would be foolish on my part to be in the best position I’ve ever been in as a driver.”
While teammate and co-owner Tony Stewart (who also has strong Chevy ties) heartily endorsed the move during the team’s announcement Tuesday, Harvick’s reaction to Ford has been muted. The 2014 series champion hadn’t posted about the move on his Twitter account.
That’s fed the speculation about the status of Harvick’s contract with SHR, which he joined in 2014 and tends to sign its drivers to three-year deals with options.
Asked whether that was his deal, Harvick said he thought it had options and that he wouldn’t consider himself a free agent. SHR’s other three drivers — Clint Bowyer (who will join from HScott Motorsports next season), Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick — are signed with the team beyond 2016.
“My contract, I haven’t even looked at,” he said. “I haven’t even asked. I just assumed that it was all sealed up and done. So I assume so.”
Asked if he would consider leaving SHR, Harvick said, “I just want to win races. That’s what we’re all going to focus on.”
The Bakersfield, Calif., native spent Friday morning working with JR Motorsports, which fields a Chevy in the Xfinity Series that has chassis and engines from Hendrick Motorsports.
SHR also receives chassis and engines from Hendrick but will be severing ties in its move to Ford. In the past, Harvick has cited Hendrick’s equipment as a reason he moved from Richard Childress Racing to SHR three years ago.
“Nothing (different),” Harvick said about working with JRM team members Friday. “You guys can go back to all the way when I’ve been in this position with RCR and changing jobs, and we won four to five races and made the Chase, so … nothing’s different.”
In addition to driving Chevrolets, Harvick also has fielded bowtie-emblazoned cars and trucks as a team owner and chassis builder.
“Myself personally, I’ve made decisions as a businessperson and from a driver standpoint,” Harvick said when asked about his Chevy ties. “I’m just focused on what I’ve got to do this weekend to win races and to put ourselves in position to win a championship.”
Asked about his preparation for the weekend, Harvick said, “My focus is the same as it has been since I started racing. That’s to go out and win races and championships. Just got to follow along with what your organization thinks is best. I think they have the same interest in mind that I do, and that’s to compete for wins and championships.”