Kevin Harvick wants to stay with SHR despite Ford switch
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) Kevin Harvick sat on a podium in the middle of his most successful track on the 15th anniversary of his first Sprint Cup victory and insisted he's not job hunting.
Two days before he seeks a record eighth victory at Phoenix International Raceway, the 2014 Cup champion said he expects to be driving for Stewart-Haas Racing next year when the team switches from Chevrolet to Ford.
''I don't see any reason why that would change,'' Harvick said Friday. ''For me, this is the best position I've been in with my team.''
Harvick won his first Cup race on March 11, 2001, at Atlanta in a Chevrolet. He won seven times at Phoenix International Raceway, more than any driver, in a Chevy. While team owner Tony Stewart has been vocal in his support of the car change, Harvick has been quiet.
While not fully endorsing Ford, Harvick indicated he has no desire to leave the No. 4 team.
''I feel like I have the best crew chief in the garage,'' Harvick said about Rodney Childers. ''It would be pretty tough to turn around and walk out on everybody who's been a part of building everything that we've built.''
Harvick came to the desert as a favorite to win the fourth Sprint Cup race of the 2016 season. He won four consecutive races on the asphalt mile tri-oval and five of six until Dale Earnhardt Jr. took last fall's rain-shortened race.
All Harvick did was lead 143 of 219 laps and finish second.
''I feel like we've had some good showings here, but coming to this track, I'd definitely put that 4 car as my No. 1 pick,'' driver Jimmie Johnson said of Sunday's 312-mile race.
Harvick brought the same car that he won here with in last spring's race. He's also healthy again, after fighting an illness last week while finishing seventh at Las Vegas for this third top-10 in as many races.
''I started racing here in the mid-'90s,'' Harvick said about running lower-series races at Phoenix. ''You still see a lot of the same fans and people that followed your career up the ranks. I love coming out here.''
This story has been corrected to show Harvick's Atlanta win in 2001, not 2011.