Practice? Who needs practice?

Bristol, CT - September 10, 2014 - ESPN Plaza: Kevin Harvick during a SportsCenter segment (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
Bristol, CT - September 10, 2014 - ESPN Plaza: Kevin Harvick during a SportsCenter segment (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
Bristol, CT – September 10, 2014 – ESPN Plaza: Kevin Harvick during a SportsCenter segment
(Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

CHICAGO—Kevin Harvick will start the Chase with five new members on his over-the-wall gang, inherited in a pit crew swap between his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Chevrolet with the No. 14 of owner/driver Tony Stewart.

Though Harvick will have two new tire changers (Ira Jo Hussey and Daniel Smith), two new tire carriers (Todd Drakulich and Mike Morneau) and a new jack man (Mike Casto)—all of whom worked with Stewart during his 2011 championship season—Harvick didn’t feel the need to practice with the new crew.

“I don’t really believe that’s really necessary,” Harvick said. “I never practiced with the current one. … I think none of that really changes.

“You get in the pit box as hard as you can, you stop on the sign and pop the thing into neutral on the way in pop it into gear when you let it down and hit the gas when it drops on the left. It doesn’t change anything that I do.”

Harvick believes, though, that the change improves his chances to win his first championship.

“When you’re racing for a championship, you want to, as an organization, put your best foot forward,” Harvick said. “Obviously, there are some tough decisions that have to be made, and you obviously hope that you don’t have to make those decisions, but this is a business, and you do have to make some hard decisions sometimes.

“But that’s a good group of pit crew guys (the old crew) that just needs time to mature together and get that consistency as they move forward as a group.”

Harvick isn’t the only driver who will work with new crewmen when the Chase starts this weekend. The teams of Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola have both have made changes, though not of the magnitude of the swap between the crews of Harvick and Stewart.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.