Stewart-Haas Racing has hired Kevin Harvick since the 2014 season with him being NASCAR’s most successful driver to date. However, it looks like his time with the team may be ending soon.
Let’s dive into the latest on Harvick’s future at NASCAR.
Kevin Harvick is rumored to leave Stewart-Haas Racing after next season
Jane Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, Referred to on the grid before the race At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Harvick told the organization of his plans to leave at the conclusion of the 2023 season, according to multiple reports.
In response, Haas said the organization is trying to persuade the 46-year-old driver to sign an extension. Harvick will turn 48 at the start of the 2024 season with his next birthday in December.
This is not a shocking development. Every driver needs to put the steering wheel down and focus on life after NASCAR at some point. It’s also not surprising to see Stewart-Haas Racing push for a new deal with Harvick.
The lineup consists of Harvick, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer. Two of the drivers, Harvick and Almirola, are really close to retirement because Custer’s future with the organization looks uncertain.
Stewart-Haas Racing is not wrong in pushing a contract extension toward Harvick. If he wanted to sign, he would be signed. However, the organization cannot force Harvick to do anything when his deal expires.
The California native has been a steady force in the #4 car with 37 wins since joining the organization. He tops off his 23 wins with Richard Childress Racing to kick-start his career.
Unfortunately for Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford’s options in the lower ranks of NASCAR aren’t very solid.
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In all likelihood, Harvick will walk away from NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2023 season which is totally understandable. It’s hard to compete in this competitive sport until you’re 50 unless you’re Mark Martin.
As noted above, Stewart-Haas Racing’s options aren’t very strong in the lower ranks. The name Ryan Preece is probably the easiest name to enter in car #4 as Tony Stewart likes it.
Bryce, 31, won the NASCAR Truck Series this season, but it wasn’t quite as impressive as expected. There would probably be a better option if that was the direction Ford took for the next driver to be listed.
Zane Smith would be the better choice because he’s Ford’s best prospect. Smith, 23, earned three wins, 12 top-5 spots and 17 top-10 spots in his first season of the truck series with Front Row Motorsports.
In addition, the 23-year-old driver will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series with select events in 2023. It will allow Smith to gain good experience in the top divisions for a potential jump to the Cup Series in 2024.
The eight-year difference between Smith and Bryce is stark, too. Smith has more potential and could be a great driver in the Cup series if the equipment capable of success is provided.
There can always be two seats open so Stewart can ride Bryce too; However, unless Ford had a different plan, Smith seemed to be the better option within the camp.
If neither, Stewart-Haas Racing is hiring Riley Herbst in the Xfinity Series and has been doing well this season. Herbst could advance with Monster Energy if they wanted to go down that path.
The Cup Series lineup within the organization has been relatively stable since the 2020 season, but it’s clear that a huge amount of change will come in the next few years.