Kevin Harvick will attempt his final Daytona 500 as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series after announcing his intentions to retire at the conclusion of the 2023 NASCAR season. This comes as Harvick’s contract with Stewart-Haas Racing is set to expire.
Next year, the 2014 Cup Series champion will be calling the Daytona 500 from the FOX Sports booth alongside Mike Joy and former teammate Clint Bowyer when he becomes the third analyst for the network.
However, Harvick’s departure will create an opening in the No. 4 car for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2024 and beyond. This prompted a question of whether Harvick has discussed his pick for a replacement in the soon-to-be-open entry.
Kevin Harvick says his pick for a replacement is “irrelevant” as it’s not his decision
Harvick will be making his transition to the NASCAR broadcasting world and leaving behind a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series that he has occupied since the 2001 season. It is disappointing to many drivers as they think highly of the 2014 Cup Series champion.
Due to Harvick’s past success and influence with Stewart-Haas Racing, the question of whether he has been in conversations with the team over his replacement was asked. It was a quick and short response until a follow-up question of what he would do if he was in charge.
“I have not…There are conversations that are beyond me and the thought process is in things that I’m not involved with on a day-to-day basis…I’ve learned that speculating on what I would do if it was (my decision) is really irrelevant because it’s not. I’ve probably made some comments here and there about if it was (my decision) but I don’t know if that’s really fair because there are so many scenarios that play into the decisions that get made…There’s a lot of politics that go into the decisions as well and politics are just a part of racing.”Kevin Harvick on whether he has talked to Stewart-Haas Racing about his replacement
This makes for a very interesting conversation because Harvick did end up seeing Ryan Preece join Stewart-Haas Racing in the No. 41 car for the 2023 season. Perhaps, the organization could ask for Harvick’s advice but it is clear he won’t pick the next driver.
There could be many drivers who would love to follow in Harvick’s footsteps as he is one of the most well-respected drivers in the garage area. In fact, several drivers have previously praised Harvick for his help and support throughout the years.
The most logical option would be to bring Cole Custer back to the Cup Series if he has an incredible season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as expected. If not, then it might not make as much sense.
Even though there might not be an obvious replacement on the surface, there will be plenty of suitors for the No. 4 car in what could be one of the most desired rides during NASCAR silly season.