Kevin Harvick said Friday “I don’t see any reason” why he won’t be with Stewart-Haas Racing next season when the team switches from Chevrolet to Ford.
Harvick’s status has been questioned since Stewart-Haas Racing announced the manufacturer change last month.
Asked about his future with the team, Harvick stated two weeks ago at Atlanta that “I got a great team, I’ve got great people, I’ve got a great organization that’s wanting to win races. To not be committed to them would be foolish on my part.’’
Harvick, a Chevrolet driver throughout his career, was asked Friday during a media session at Phoenix International Raceway if he would be in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in 2017.
“I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t happen, why that would change,’’ Harvick said. “For me, I’m in the best position that I’ve been in with my team. I feel like I have the best crew chief in the garage. It would be pretty tough to turn around and walk out on everybody who has been a part of building everything that we’ve built so far.’’
Harvick comes to Phoenix looking to continue his dominance. The track’s all-time Sprint Cup leader with seven victories, has won five of the last seven races there.
In the last four races at Phoenix, he’s won three times and finished second — “got beat by the rain in the last one,’’ he said. Harvick has led 74 percent of the laps run in those four races.
“It’s tough, there’s no way around it,’’ Jimmie Johnson said of beating Harvick at Phoenix.
Johnson knows what Harvick is experiencing. Johnson was the track’s dominant driver, winning four out of five races from 2007-09.
“I feel like we’ve had some good showings, but coming to this track, I definitely put (Harvick) as my No. 1 pick,’’ Johnson said Friday. “I think we’re closing the gap some.’’
Harvick has been fast the past two weekends — Atlanta and Las Vegas — but had issues that kept him from winning.
“We’ve had a disastrous last two weeks, in all honesty,’’ Harvick said. “I had a stomach virus last week and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in the race car. The week before, we had no race engineer (due to illness). (Crew chief Rodney Childers) and those guys kind of winged it at Atlanta. Three runs left in the race, the brake pad broke in half on the left front and had to drive with three brakes. We’ve just had a lot of circumstances.
“We’ve got to get everybody healthy and get everybody in sync. The cars have been plenty fast, and we just haven’t been able to get everything out of them just for one reason or another over the last two weeks.’’
Even with those issues, Harvick has finished no worse than seventh in a race this season.