Kevin Harvick wanted Kyle Busch at Stewart-Haas Racing

Kevin Harvick: “I’m not the guy spending the money.”

All year, Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota have been on a sponsorship search to replace MARS Incorporated. However, they’ve failed to come up with the funding and now Kyle Busch will exit their driver roster at the end of the 2022 season.

This week, Busch signed with Richard Childress Racing. He’s set to move from Toyota to Chevrolet as he pilots the No. 8 car.

Richard Childress and Kyle Busch have a bit of a rocky history as the team owner once punched Busch in the face. However, a call from Austin Dillon led to a meeting between the two. That meeting ultimately resulted in Busch signing on the dotted line.

As Kyle Busch was set to become a free-agent, multiple drivers spoke out in favor of possibly landing a new teammate. One of those drivers was Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick…

“I know there’s a lot of things that go on around Kyle, but in the end, Kyle is still one of the best that’s ever come through this garage,” Harvick said back in July. “There’s a lot of teams that can say that they’ve never had one of those types of drivers. 

“He literally could rebuild an organization if somebody took a chance that hasn’t had one of those types of drivers.”

Kyle Busch to race for NASCAR team Richard Childress Racing in 2023

Kevin Harvick wishes Stewart-Haas Racing went harder to claim Kyle Busch

Kevin Harvick drinks beer - NASCAR Cup Series - Michigan International Speedway
BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN – AUGUST 07: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light Apple #BuschelOfBusch Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 07, 2022 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Several months ago, the 2-time NASCAR Cup Series champion began exploring alternative options. He reached well beyond RCR and multiple teams have dropped the ball…

“If it was my move, I would have been way more aggressive in trying to make sure (Busch) was on our team,” Harvick told reporters Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I’m not in charge.”

Back in 2020, Stewart-Haas Racing was in the running to sign Kyle Larson following his suspension. Tony Stewart was eager to sign the driver but ultimately he was told no by Ford. Larson returned and claimed the 2021 season championship.

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NASCAR team owner Tony Stewart explains why he couldn’t sign Kyle Larson; Ford wouldn’t approve it

“There’s just way more that goes into it,” Harvick said of signing Busch to SHR.

“I’m just the guy giving opinions. I’m not the guy spending the money. There’s just way more dynamics that go into it. Kyle’s situation is complicated, more than most, with his trucks and everything that goes into that with the manufacturer and things like that.”

Kyle Busch Motorsports fields a fleet of Toyotas in the NASCAR Truck Series as well as the ARCA Menards Series. Part of his new deal will see that team switch to Chevrolet.

“Richard loves to win,” Harvick said. “Even when Kyle finishes second, he’s mad and that’s very Richard Childress. Richard may do a better job of covering it up and talking about it. 

“Richard Childress is a hardcore racer. He has no intentions to do anything else other than win. I think that the move he just made shows you that.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr comments on Kyle Busch driving the No. 3

Stewart-Haas Racing contracts

Stewart-Haas Racing - Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Stewart-Haas Racing – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Openings were available at SHR for 2023.

Initially, the 2022 season was going to be a retirement tour for Aric Almirola. However, back in August he signed a 2-year renewal at the request of sponsor Smithfield.

Cole Custer is in a contract year. He currently drives the No. 41 for Stewart-Hass in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Harvick’s SHR contract expires at the end of the 2023 season. He pilots the No. 4 car.

Chase Briscoe joined the team in 2021. It’s a multi-year contract to drive the No. 14 car after replacing Clint Bowyer.

Joe Gibbs, Toyota react to departure of Kyle Busch


Kyle Busch | Tony Stewart | Kyle Larson | Stewart-Haas Racing | NASCAR | Ford Performance