NASCAR: Denial Is The Only Option For Harvick Right Now

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

The rumors that 2014 NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick is looking to leave SHR next season have started once again. Once again Harvick is denying those rumors but in all honesty, denial is his only real option in this situation.

Earlier this season SHR announced they would be ending their relationship with Chevy at the end of the 2016 NASCAR season and joining Ford in 2017. In the days following the announcement there were rumors that Harvick was not happy with the move to Ford. Those rumors never went away and eventually turned into some believing that Harvick might be actively looking for a way to stay in a Chevy in 2017.

When it comes to rumors it’s often a situation of where there is smoke, there is fire. Harvick is not the only driver at SHR, yet months after the announcement he is the only driver to be linked to potentially not wanting to move with the team to Ford.

The Harvick talk died down over the past few weeks but it was kicked up again this week when published a piece about Harvick and Hendrick Motorsports. According to the article, HMS has made an offer for Harvick to join them and take over the No. 5 machine in 2017. The article goes onto state that Harvick is currently mulling the offer over.

Monday night Kevin Harvick was asked about the rumor with HMS on Twitter. Harvick was quick to put a firm answer out there for all of the NASCAR world to see.

This response has turned into the rallying cry for those who don’t want Harvick to leave SHR and join HMS (or any other team) in 2017. This tweet also comes on the heels of Harvick saying earlier in the season that he can’t see himself not in a Ford or with SHR in 2017. Harvick has had no issue denying these rumors but the truth is, that’s really the only option that he has right now.

Harvick has an option for the 2017 season with SHR built into his contract. This means that Harvick can opt-in and remain with the team for the 2017 season (which would be the last year of his current deal) or he can opt-out and become a free agent. This alone makes Harvick’s situation interesting because at the end of the day he truly has all of the cards in his hands.

While Harvick holds the power, he also isn’t stupid. The 2016 NASCAR season is 12 races old. Let’s say Harvick did get an offer from HMS. Let’s say Harvick is considering it but is still leaning towards returning to SHR in 2017. Heck, even if he was leaning in the other direction, talking about it is not the right thing to do. The only thing Harvick can do is deny until the cows come home.

If Harvick were to open the door about leaving SHR in 2017, it would create a storm that would follow him throughout the rest of the 2016 season. It would be a distraction for him and his entire team. Not only would it create issues for the No. 4 team, but it would also have a negative impact on Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 team. The only way to avoid such issues is to never open that door and the only way to do that is to deny the mere thought of it, which is what Harvick has done.

In the end maybe none of this is even a thing. Maybe Harvick is thrilled about the move to Ford in 2017. Maybe Harvick has plans to end his career at SHR and moving to another team is something that he would never truly consider. Maybe HMS doesn’t even have Harvick on their radar and they never made an offer to him. Then again, maybe there is more to this than Harvick is letting on. NASCAR fans need to realize that athletes have been known to twist reality during times of contract talks, free agency, negations with teams etc.

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I’m not saying that Harvick is going to be driving the No. 5 machine for HMS in 2017, but it would be naïve to think that there isn’t some truth to all of this. Tom Bowles of isn’t running around trying to make Harvick’s life hell. On the flip side, Harvick isn’t about to turn the next 24 races into a circus by saying that teams are offering him deals or anything along those lines.

Come the end of the 2016 season I am sure this will all sort itself out. Until then, denial is the only option Harvick has. If Harvick is with another team in 2017, denial still would have been the best way to handle what is going on now in 2016 and that’s just the way it is.