NASCAR: New potential Kevin Harvick replacement emerging?

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Josh Berry is finalizing a long-term management deal with KHI Management. Is he in the frame to replace Kevin Harvick after the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season?

Thanks to his role as “supersub” for Hendrick Motorsports over the last few months, Josh Berry has found himself becoming a highly rated driver on the radar of multiple teams when it comes to potential NASCAR Cup Series rides for 2024.

Berry, who competes full-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, spent five races as the replacement for the injured Chase Elliott behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet, and he is currently subbing for the injured Alex Bowman behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet for the foreseeable future.

In just six starts with the team, he has quietly racked up three top 10 finishes, including a career-high second place finish in his first ever Cup Series start at Richmond Raceway.

According to multiple sources, including Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern, Berry is in the process of finalizing a long-term management deal with Kevin Harvick’s agency, KHI Management.

Does this put Berry in the driver’s seat to replace Kevin Harvick at Stewart-Haas Racing in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season?

Harvick is in the midst of his 23rd and final season as a full-time Cup Series driver, meaning that the No. 4 Ford needs a new driver for next year and beyond.

Stewart-Haas Racing have known of the impending vacancy for several months, but nothing has been publicly stated regarding whom they may be considering. Given where things stand, it is evident that they are playing the long game and being as patient as possible.

Other KHI-managed drivers include Ryan Preece, who signed with Stewart-Haas Racing as their official reserve driver last year before landing a full-time Cup ride in their No. 41 Ford this year, as well as JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who has also been mentioned as a possibility to replace Harvick, and Wood Brothers Racing’s Harrison Burton.

So while the potential KHI Management deal by no means guarantees Berry a full-time ride with Stewart-Haas Racing next year, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

The team’s only two Xfinity Series drivers are Cole Custer, who was just demoted from the Cup Series this past offseason, and Riley Herbst, who is winless in three-plus seasons in top-tier Xfinity Series equipment.

At 32 years old, Berry isn’t exactly a young driver like Custer and Herbst are, but he could be exactly what the team needs to lead them forward after losing their most successful driver.

The Hendersonville, Tennessee native has been around NASCAR since 2014, and while this is only his second full season in the Xfinity Series, he is a five-time winner at NASCAR’s second highest level and made it to the Championship 4 last year.

JR Motorsports have an affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports, but all four of Rick Hendrick’s drivers are under contract through at least 2025. All are also just 30 years old or younger.

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There is no timetable on when Stewart-Haas Racing will confirm Harvick’s replacement, but it’s hard not to consider Berry a serious contender amid this KHI Management development.