NASCAR Report: HMS Makes Offer To Harvick for 2017

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

It has been fairly quiet as of late in the world of NASCAR regarding Kevin Harvick and the Stewart Haas Racing switch to Ford in 2017. A new report from has raised the volume once again.

A story by Tom Bowles of reports that Kevin Harvick is mulling an offer by HMS to replace Kasey Kahne in the No.5 machine. That would be huge news in the Sprint Cup garage and send shockwaves through what was going to be a somewhat weak free agent class heading into 2017.

"Dover’s destruction came during a weekend where rumors returned that Harvick is mulling an offer to leave Stewart-Haas Racing; multiple sources claimed to me at the track the driver’s been approached with an offer to move to Hendrick Motorsports equipment in 2017, a deal that could insert him straight into Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 car.This information isn’t new to NASCAR insiders; it’s been kicked around and strongly denied by both sides. (For the record, Harvick stated this spring, “I’m in the best position I’ve ever been in. It would be pretty tough to walk out on everything we’ve built.”) No one will speak on the possibility as it’s tricky business to execute; Kahne is signed through 2018 and would have to be demoted elsewhere within the HMS chassis/engine hierarchy or have his contract bought out. Harvick, for his part would have to move without crew chief mastermind Rodney Childers who is “locked in” to his current digs at SHR. But the two weeks of calm in Charlotte give thinking time to Harvick in a contract year. It follows several weeks of pit miscues, what-could-have-beens and ground lost to rival Joe Gibbs Racing. Will Harvick look back at this race as the moment where he decided “close” no longer cut it?"

As soon as SHR announced the switch to Ford the speculation began about the future of Kevin Harvick and his ties to Chevrolet. For his part, Kevin has been very supportive of the teams manufacturer switch without stoking the fires of the rumors of his departure. He has also been vague enough in his answers as to leave the door open for any offers coming his way.

If this report turns out to be true it would start a domino effect with several of the top teams involved. Where would Kasey Kahne go? He has not lived up to his pre Hendrick driving stats but remains a sponsor favorite. That has helped him recently sign a multi year extension with HMS that would have to be bought out. To bring in a driver of Harvick’s caliber that check would be a lot easier to write.

As for Harvick that would keep him in a Chevrolet and allow him to continue to dive the occasional Jr Motorsports Xfinity car that he uses for his personal sponsors. His current part time primary sponsor Jimmy Johns is attached to him, so you would expect that to follow with him wherever he lands. Budweiser has a history with HMS, but I would venture to guess the respect between Tony Stewart and Rick Hendrick would prevent any primary sponsor moment.

The suddenly vacant seat at SHR could be a desired landing spot for Kahne or another driver. The only other free agent drivers that would be of a caliber to fill that seat are recently released by SHR Ryan Newman and fellow RCR driver Paul Menard. The driver lineup of Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick needs a solid fourth driver to round out that team. The Kasey Kahne before he went to HMS would fill the bill, but not the one on the track today.

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There has been at least one if not two vacant seats expected in the RCR cars after the 2016 season with the possible departure of Menard and or Newman. Ty Dillion is expected to fill one of those seats in 2017 but that still leaves one more. Could Kahne fall there and provide a veteran leader for the Dillon brothers?

The thought of Kevin Harvick joining Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Chase Elliot on one team is enough to make any NASCAR fan get excited. With the SHR switch to Ford the storylines heading into 2017 would be explosive.