It was announced earlier today that effective immediately (meaning for the entire 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup), Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart would be wholesale swapping their over-the-wall personnel.
Harvick has not been shy about sharing his displeasure publicly in interviews and over the team radio. Starting with the first 2014 Chase race Sunday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway, Harvick’s pit stops will have the tire carriers, tire changers and jackman who had been part of the No. 14 pit crew.
The timing is almost perfect for Harvick, who along with teammate Kurt Busch, are in contention for the 2014 Sprint Cup. The only question is why not earlier? The combination of Stewart being out several races, and the hope that the No. 14 team could win their way into the Chase probably kept the swap from happening earlier.
It’s worth noting too that the five members coming over the wall for Harvick for the remainder of 2014 were all part of Stewart’s 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship-winning team.
Sunday afternoon will be interesting for a multitude of reasons. The swap over at Stewart-Haas just adds another. It will also be enlightening over the next few weeks to see if Harvick’s frustrations were completely justified, which they seem to be on the surface.
The only way this could backfire further is frustrating driver/bossman Tony Stewart. Stewart and Harvick are both known for their competitiveness and their tempers. Stewart may not be as public with his frustrations, though with a disappointing and emotional season, setting Stewart up with an over-the-wall team who hasn’t been performing might end with bigger consequences of crew being chewed out by a guy signing checks, and ultimately, crew being let go.
Best case scenario, the swap could be a catalyst for all involved to reset and step up their games.