Childress would be wise to let Harvick leave
But don’t count on it.
As far as the sponsor goes, Childress is smart enough that he can probably make them stick around for the final year of their contract. You need money to put together a winning race team, so he’s not likely to let them get away if he’s got it in writing that they will be there.
But the driver is a whole different matter. An unhappy driver is not a good thing, as team chemistry is very important in NASCAR.
When you consider how unimpressive Harvick has been in recent years, not winning since his 2007 Daytona 500 victory, why would you want to hold him to his contract?
There’s a lot going on at Richard Childress Racing. The team has struggled mightily in 2009, in part because of the team’s inability to adapt to having a four-car operation. There are rumors of running fewer teams in 2010, and that Jack Daniels might want out from the underwhelming #07 driven by Casey Mears.
If Childress wants to succeed in 2010, a sulking Kevin Harvick is not someone he wants around. He should let Harvick leave, and if Jack Daniels leaves he can shift that sponsorship over to the Mears car. He’ll have a more manageable three-car team, and hopefully will be able to improve his teams’ results.
Harvick was the driver put in an impossible solution, moving up to Cup a year ahead of schedule when Dale Earnhardt died (He had originally been set to drive the #30 AOL car starting in 2002). He had a great start, winning in just his third start in the #29 car, but never became an elite driver on the level of a Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson. While the team he owns wins in Nationwide and Truck series, he doesn’t do it much in Cup anymore.
So it is really in the best interests of everyone for him to leave. He’d fit in great at Stewart-Haas Racing with his buddy Stewart, assuming the sponsorship could be worked out.
The team may insist Harvick is coming back for sure, and they have to do that publicly, but you know there is some backroom dealing going on right now that might end up with him being elsewhere in 2010.
And that would be the best-case scenario for all involved.
Harvick could get a fresh start elsewhere, and Childress would have a driver whose was fully dedicated to the ride.
Jimmie Johnson vs. Kurt Busch
They say drives have selective memories. As Kyle Petty said last week, they never remember wrecking anyone, but always remember who wrecked them.
Take the case of Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch last week at Chicago.
That wreck was clearly Jimmie’s fault, and Kurt has every right to be mad. Johnson got into him at Sonoma, too, under questionable circumstances. It may have been just a racing deal to Johnson (he said the #24 car got him loose), but that’s because he wasn’t the one in the wall.
The three-time defending champion is usually a pretty clean racer, but lately he’s shown that even he isn’t opposed to wrecking someone if it means a better finish.
It’s just a shame he won’t admit he was at fault, as that would be the act of a true champion.