Just days after multiple slow pit stops cost Kevin Harvick a potential win, the Sprint Cup points leader will have two new pit crew members for Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway.
In a roster released by Stewart-Haas Racing Wednesday, Harvick’s No. 4 team has listed a new front tire changer, Eric Maycroft, and front tire carrier, Matt Holzbaur, who had been pit crew members for Danica Patrick, Harvick’s teammate. Maycroft and Holzbaur will swap places with Tim Sheets (tire changer) and Todd Drakulich (tire carrier).
Issues on pit road have slowed Harvick several times this season. During Sunday’s Southern 500, Harvick led a race-high 214 of 367 laps, but lost a total of 17 positions on pit road -- including one stop where he fell from the lead to 12th.
After finishing second to Martin Truex Jr., Harvick potently vented his frustration.
"I'm over being a cheerleader," Harvick said. "Those guys get paid a lot of money to perform on pit road, and cheerleading hasn't really been working. You've got to get after it on pit road and do your job.
"We have championship cars and we're just mediocre on pit road. It's kind of been that way for a few years, and they've moved some things around, but it just seems like it's just week after week after week."
On Wednesday, crew chief Rodney Childers cited a malfunctioning air gun as the reason for the slow pit stops at Darlington.
“We definitely had a gun problem on that one stop, that’s really the one that cost us the race,” Childers told NBCSN’s NASCAR America. “Overall we’re working hard this week to fix some of that stuff and to try and make things better.”
Making the change prior to Richmond gives Harvick’s revised crew one race to get acclimated prior to NASCAR’s playoffs beginning the following week at Chicagoland Speedway.
In 2014, SHR swapped the crews of Harvick and Tony Stewart in the week leading into Chicagoland to improve Harvick’s chances to win the Sprint Cup championship. The changes worked as Harvick won a career-first title.
“All of us at SHR are working hard to see what our options are and what we can do to make things better,” Childers said. “…We’re trying to do the best we can, and hopefully, we’ll have something right by Chicago.”