NASCAR: 5 possible replacements for Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Zane Smith, NASCAR
Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Possible Kevin Harvick replacements: No. 3 – Zane Smith

Right now — January 2023, more than one year before the 2024 season is scheduled to get underway — Zane Smith makes the most sense for Stewart-Haas Racing with Kevin Harvick retiring.

Smith is set to return to Front Row Motorsports as the reigning NASCAR Truck Series champion in 2023 after signing a contract extension that contains options through 2026. He is also set to compete in select Cup Series races for the team throughout the 2023 season.

The 23-year-old Huntington Beach, California native finished runner-up in his first two seasons in the Truck Series in 2020 and 2021 when he competed for GMS Racing and Chevrolet. He sent out over 100 calls when he lost his ride and only one team called him back. He rewarded them with a title.

With Smith now aligned with Ford for the foreseeable future, he is the logical choice to make the step up. Ford are only set to run four full-time entries in the Xfinity Series this year, and two of those were discussed in the first two slides.

While he has never competed full-time in the Xfinity Series, it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that Smith has a leg up on Cole Custer and Riley Herbst for a premier Ford Cup seat at this stage.

Worth mentioning is the fact that Smith got the unexpected opportunity to make his Cup Series debut in 2022, subbing for RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway when Buescher was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.

He finished in 17th place, higher than both of Front Row Motorsports’ full-time drivers (Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland), and even higher than teammate and team co-owner Brad Keselowski.