Author: Mike Hembree
Date: Jan. 24, 2017
CHARLOTTE — NASCAR’s new segmented race format will be the big story entering the new season, but Kevin Harvick and his teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing — Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer — have another hurdle to address.
SHR, one of the sport’s top teams, changed manufacturers from Chevrolet to Ford, a process that began last season but will not produce on-track results until next month.
SHR added about 75 employees, in part to deal with the changeover, and much of the off-season was spent working on simulation programs and data processes critical to the new landscape.
Still, how things will develop when it comes time to race is an unknown.
“We’re definitely a little bit anxious to get on the racetrack,” Harvick said Tuesday. “The hardest things to overcome are going to be a lot of things that come with the technology side. We have to understand all the tools we have.
“We may never miss a beat on the racetrack. That’s our goal.”
Ford hasn’t won the Cup championship since 2004. Adding SHR drivers Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and Harvick is one of the major moves the car builder made in an attempt to reverse that trend.
“It’s been a massive undertaking for the company,” Harvick said. “We not only had a turnover from the manufacturer standpoint, but we brought in 70 to 80 new people and started our own chassis shop.
“There has been a lot of planning and a lot of things put in place, but I still think there needs to be realistic expectations. There’s a little bit of the unknown right now, but everybody has worked a lot.”
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