Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart to keep pit crews from 2014 swap
When Stewart-Haas Racing made the decision in September to swap the pit crews of Kevin Harvick and SHR co-owner/driver Tony Stewart, the plan was billed as a temporary one designed to bolster Harvick’s shot at the 2014 Sprint Cup title.
Well, the change worked.
And, now, it’s permanent.
Stewart, who didn’t qualify for last year’s Chase in which Harvick was ultimately crowned champion, told NASCAR.com on Tuesday that the No. 4 and No. 14 teams will arrive at Daytona International Speedway next month with the same pit crews they utilized over last season’s final 10 races.
Harvick went to Victory Lane twice over the first 26 races of 2014 but was plagued by numerous pit road issues that most likely cost him several more wins. When Stewart missed the Chase, SHR officials announced prior to the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway that the tire changers, tire carriers and jackmen on Stewart’s team would move over to Harvick’s team, and vice versa.
The five new crewmen on Harvick’s team were all part Stewart’s 2011 Sprint Cup championship-winning team — and ultimately helped Harvick score three wins in the final 10 races en route to capturing the title in his first year with SHR. Stewart, meanwhile, matched his best finish of the season when he came home fourth in the fall race at Martinsville Speedway.
"We made this change in the best interests of the entire organization," SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said following the announcement of last year’s pit crew swap. "Our primary goal is to win races and championships, and this pit crew swap provides championship experience to the No. 4 team and continued race-winning experience to the No. 14 team."