The Kyle Busch sweepstakes ended on September 13th when he announced a multi-year contract with Richard Childress Racing. Days later, Kevin Harvick expressed some strong opinions about how the Stewart-Haas Racing team got it wrong.
“If this was my move, I would have been more aggressive trying to make sure [Busch] Harvick said while in the media at Bristol Motor Speedway. He went on to say that he wasn’t the one making the decisions at SHR, so it wasn’t his call. Harvick also acknowledged that the partnership between Busch and Richard Childress is appropriate given their competitiveness.
“Richard loves to win,” Harvick added. “Even when Kyle finished second, he’s crazy and that’s Richard Childress. Richard might do a better job of covering it up and talking about it. Richard Childress is a hardcore racer. He has no intention of doing anything other than winning. I think the move he just made shows you that “.
Harvick previously supported the potential pairing between Busch and SHR
The media availability at Bristol Motor Speedway isn’t the first time Harvick has talked about Busch and his capabilities as a race car driver. He has actually publicly shown his support for SHR who is likely to go after the two-time Cup Series champion.
“I’m hiring Kyle Busch today,” Harvick said on July 30 over the weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.. “Because it’s going to have a huge impact on our team’s performance, the need to do some things better.
“There’s no way Kyle Bush doesn’t have a lot of options,” Harvick continued. “So, you know, I know there’s a lot of stuff going on about Kyle. But in the end, Kyle is still one of the best that’s been found through this garage. So there’s a lot of teams that can say they probably never had them.” One of those types of drivers. You can literally rebuild an entire organization if someone takes a chance who doesn’t have one of these types of drivers. Under the right circumstances, you can rebuild an entire organization out of their pure talent.”
When Harvick made these comments, there were many questions about SHR’s lineup. Eric Almerola was still on the verge of retiring at the end of the 2022 Cup season. Although he and Smithfield Foods eventually surprised the industry by announcing their comeback on a multi-year deal.
Cole Custer’s future remained uncertain at the time. He and Team #41 have struggled all season, so there have been rumors about whether he will be returning or heading to an SHR affiliate organization. However, SHR eventually confirmed that the plan was to bring Custer back for the 2023 season.
The coupling of SHR and Busch would shake up the truck series
One potential snag was the Busch’s Truck Series team, which Harvick admitted in Bristol. Kyle Busch Motorsports has been an essential part of Toyota Racing, and has provided opportunities for drivers who rise through the ranks. Now this team will move to the Chevrolet camp.
If Harvick had gone to SHR, there would have been an interesting change to the Truck Series. The vast majority of teams are competing for either Chevrolet or Toyota. Only two have deals with Ford Performance.
Regular season champion Zane Smith drives the #38 Ford F-150 for Front Row Motorsports, and has taken the blue oval to Victory Lane three times in 2022. Both Hailey Deagan and Tanner Gray race full-time Ford F-150s to David Gilliland Racing as they share Taylor Gray and Ryan Bryce on third entry along with some other guest drivers.
Having a third Ford team in the truck series would have changed the complexion, especially given KBM’s history of success. Instead, this partnership will not occur. The organization will move to Chevrolet and will add more prizes to the field.
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