Stewart-Haas Racing linked to Daytona 500 champion in NASCAR silly season

Stewart-Haas Racing has been linked to a Daytona 500 champion in NASCAR silly season. Find out the driver that could replace Kevin Harvick.

NASCAR: Daytona 500 Practice

Kevin Harvick announced his intentions to retire from full-time racing in the NASCAR Cup Series at the conclusion of the 2023 season in January. This means Stewart-Haas Racing will need to find Harvick’s replacement for the No. 4 car moving forward.

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion has previously talked about the process of Stewart-Haas Racing choosing a driver. When asked about his involvement in the process, Harvick said his opinion was irrelevant since it is not his choice.

There are a few names that make sense for the No. 4 car, such as Cole Custer, Zane Smith, and Todd Gilliland. However, there is one driver who has previously talked to Stewart-Haas Racing that could be an option.

Related: Stewart-Haas Racing preview – Big expectations, predictions for the 2023 season

Stewart-Haas Racing linked to Daytona 500 champion, could be candidate to replace Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb 18, 2023; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; Crew members push NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (not pictured) car to inspection during practice at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Stewart-Haas Racing’s decision on who to put in the No. 4 car will be one of the top storylines during NASCAR silly season. Some of the other notable storylines include Denny Hamlin’s expiring deal and Martin Truex Jr.’s possible retirement.

Outside of the Joe Gibbs Racing camp, the vacant No. 4 car left by Harvick will be the top ride on the market. This means it will be highly coveted and perhaps, it could be of interest to a Daytona 500 champion.

According to The Athletic, Stewart-Haas Racing talked to Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the winner of the 2023 Daytona 500, about replacing Cole Custer in the No. 41 car last year but nothing materialized.

Stenhouse, 35, ended up staying with JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2023 season and won the Great American Race last weekend. Meanwhile, Ryan Preece ended up replacing Custer in the No. 41 car for the year.

The 35-year-old driver would be a logical replacement for Harvick as Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart is a fan of dirt racing. Stenhouse has a background in dirt racing and would finally get a chance to drive in contending equipment.

It is currently really early in the process of NASCAR silly season but it is important to note that several drivers have already secured deals for the 2024 season. The pool of drivers is not as strong as it was before.

Stewart-Haas Racing has previously talked to Stenhouse so a Daytona 500 victory might create even more intrigue on their end. Plus, with possibly two openings due to Harvick and Aric Almirola, it’s feasible that Stenhouse could be one of two new drivers.

Therefore, it increases his chances of landing the ride. We will see how the process plays out while Stewart-Haas Racing’s previous link to Stenhosue is quite notable after last weekend’s event.

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