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Kevin Harvick affirms commitment to Stewart-Haas Racing

Even though Stewart-Haas Racing is switching to Ford in 2017, Harvick sees no reason why he wouldn’t remain with the team.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Although Stewart-Haas Racing is switching to Ford next season, Kevin Harvick intends to remain with the team despite his strong allegiance to Chevrolet.

Throughout Harvick's 16-year career in NASCAR's premier division, he's driven for Chevrolet-backed teams, first with Richard Childress Racing (2001-13) then with SHR (2014 to present). But with SHR, co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, moving to Ford in 2017, speculation has centered on whether Harvick would also jump to the rival carmaker or sign with a different Chevrolet-backed organization.

"I don't see any reason why that wouldn't happen," said Harvick of staying with SHR Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Similar to Harvick, Stewart and SHR each have maintained a long association with General Motors -- Stewart has driven a GM car in all but one of his 18 seasons, while SHR has been a GM affiliated team since its 2003 inception and had a close relationship with Hendrick Motorsports (which supports SHR with engines, cars and technical data) since Stewart joined the team in 2009.

Despite these ties, SHR is aligning with Ford because of the opportunity to be more competitive long-term and to give the four-car team greater independence, Stewart said in announcing the move last month.

Harvick's reasons for staying with SHR are many. He and Stewart are close friends, a relationship that factored heavily in Harvick moving to SHR, while on the track the 40-year-old has emerged as a dominant force. Harvick won a career-first championship in 2014, finished runner-up to Kyle Busch last season and led the most laps each of the past two years.

"I got a great team, I've got great people, I've got a great organization that's wanting to win races," Harvick said. "To not be committed to them would be foolish on my part.

"For me, I'm in the best position that I've been in with my team. I feel like I have the best crew chief in the garage. It would be pretty tough to turn around and walk out on everybody who has been a part of building everything that we have built so far."