Kahne stole Harvick's ride
Over the past weekend, Richard Childress suggested he and Kevin Harvick were close to signing a contract extension. In fact, Childress suggested the deal would be done by the May 30 Charlotte race. My, how the worm turns …
Harvick excoriated the team publicly last season. As a result, most observers of all things NASCAR said he had irreparably burned bridges with Richard Childress Racing, and his chances of staying with that team were slim to nil. I even went so far as to suggest the time might be right to bring Kevin Harvick Incorporated to the Cup series. Now, we all look pretty silly. Some of us more than others …
Why the change of heart? Two things: Kasey Kahne and success.
When Rick Hendrick and Kasey Kahne announced their convoluted contract agreement last month, Harvick was suddenly without options. Kahne is set for Hendrick’s No. 5 in 2012, but Mark Martin will remain in that car for 2011.
What’s Kasey to do? The most logical answer, of course, is for Kahne to head over to Stewart Haas Racing for a year. SHR is Hendrick’s No. 1 satellite, and there are only two cars in the stable. Kasey and Rick can help SHR jump-start a third program, thereby giving both Hendrick and Stewart Hass tangible benefits.
Thing is, that third car was Harvick’s best, and perhaps only, non-RCR option.
Harvick is a top-tier driver and needs to be with a top-tier team. He’s a Chevy guy by virtue of KHI’s membership in the bow-tie brigade. He and Tony are buddies. Stewart has even been known to drive a KHI car in the lower series on occasion. Harvick at Stewart Haas was a no-brainer. Then Hendrick and Kahne had to go and mess everything up.
Once a possible Stewart Haas ride evaporated for Harvick, what options were left to him? Earnhardt Ganassi — sure, they’re coming on, but are not yet in the same league as RCR. Front Row Motorsports — please.
Is Harvick ending up back at RCR because he wants to be there, or because there is no place else for him to go?
Of course, success is a great panacea. Harvick has been at the top of his game this season, winning at Talladega and sitting atop the point standings. It’s easy to forgive and forget past indiscretions under those circumstances.
So, the reports of their partnership’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Thanks to Kasey, Rick and a fast start, Kevin and RC are keeping the band together.
Now, they just need to go out, find a sponsor and hope Kevin doesn’t decide to throw them under the bus in Victory Lane. Anybody care to speculate who that sponsor may be? YahooSports