“I Didn’t Know It Was New” – Kevin Harvick Oblivious as Stewart-Haas Racing’s Woes With Ford Continue

Published 07/16/2023, 8:37 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Moving over to Stewart-Haas Racing’s camp in 2014, Kevin Harvick had a breakthrough season. Driving the #4 Chevy, Happy Harvick won five races during his maiden season at SHR, ultimately being crowned the 2014 Cup Series champion. Slated to retire at the end of the 2023 season, Kevin Harvick currently sits in the 9th position on NASCAR’s Cup Series standings.

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Kevin Harvick has yet to win a race this season, and he is currently embroiled in a battle to make it into the playoffs. Now in New Hampshire for the upcoming Crayon 301 event, the SHR #4 driver revealed how he was oblivious to a major change.

What change was Kevin Harvick unaware of

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Having started his journey at Stewart-Haas Racing with a championship win, Kevin Harvick has been struggling to churn out good results. Further adding to Harvick’s troubles was NASCAR’s NextGen short-track package, which made his already problematic Ford Mustang more difficult to handle. The Goodyear-sourced tires too posed a big issue, with multiple drivers calling out the tire manufacturer for its subpar products. Having listened to the harsh feedback of drivers, Goodyear got to work, fabricating a new tire package that would debut at the Crayon 301 Cup Series race.

Speaking in a pre-race presser at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick was asked about his expectations from the new Goodyear tires. Revealing how he was oblivious to the tires being swapped out for the New Hampshire event, Happy Harvick said, I didn’t know it was new. Yeah, I have no idea.”

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“You know, I think for the things that I’ve been able to go through so far with this car, you don’t really know until you race it. every time I try to predict something it’s usually wrong. So you know, I think as we’ve gone through last year, and in the beginning of this year, there are some places that are a little bit different on the tire, you know compared to the other short tracks. So this place is just a little bit unique and I’m sure that’s why they switched it up a little bit for here”, the 2014 Cup Series champion further added.

Having faced severe backlash from drivers since last season, Goodyear in April conducted a New Hampshire-specific tire test.

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Goodyear’s New Hampshire-specific tire test

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On April 25, 2023, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Christopher Bell participated in Goodyear’s tire test, the results of which would bear fruit at the Crayon 301 Cup Series race. Assisted by NASCAR icons, Goodyear tested various tire compounds that would better suit NASCAR’s Next-Gen car on the short tracks. After the test, the tire giant decided to settle on a new, softer compound.

Impressed with the outcomes of the test, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott said, “I thought we made a lot of gains on the tire during that test and it opened my eyes to how much we can make things with just the tire compound by itself and that really surprised me.”

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With race day ready to commence at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it remains to be seen how well Goodyear’s new tire package performs.

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Written by:

Naman Neeraj

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Naman Neeraj is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. This Motorsports buff has completed his undergrad in English Literature and has now set out to make a name for himself in the journalism field. Although he is new to the scene, he has been following motorsports for over a decade.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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