Stewart-Haas Racing has confirmed that it has made changes to Kevin Harvick’s pit crew ahead of the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 26, according to NBC Sports.
The changes come in the wake of Harvick expressing his growing frustration over slow pit stops that have taken him out of contention to win or finish in the top five.
Daniel Coffey will now become the front tire changer, with Brandon Banks assuming the jackman role within the No. 4 pit crew. Both crew members come from Harvick’s teammate Chase Briscoe and his No. 14 crew.
Shayne Pipala will continue to be a front tire changer, but he shifts to the vacant position within Briscoe’s crew that Coffey left behind. Stan Doolittle, Harvick’s previous jackman, will move to the No. 51 team of Cody Ware – SHR supplies pit crew members for Rick Ware Racing.
Ware’s former jackman, Matthew Schlytter, will replace Banks as Briscoe’s jackman. Everybody else on all three teams will remain in the position they are currently in with their respective team.
“We need to win a race,” Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers told NBC Sports. “We kind of feel like if you don’t win a race, you might not get in [the playoffs]. You can’t really give up a lot of spots on pit road and still try to win races.”
Harvick first expressed his frustration with his pit crew after the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he finished third, but maybe could have had a shot to win if it weren’t for his crew.
“We went to the back five times for bad pit stops… after I hit the wall I got a lot tighter and then every time we’d make it up, we’d just fall on our face on pit road and go to the back again.”
Harvick’s frustration continued at Sonoma Raceway. He was running third when he made his final pit stop of the day. The stop was a disastrous 22 seconds, and he came out seventh. Though he made his way back to fourth, Harvick called out his crew again.
“We had our minimum of once-a-week catastrophic failure on pit road and got back as far forward as we could, as usual. It is what it is, I guess.”
Harvick currently sits 17th in the playoff standings, just seven points behind his teammate Aric Almirola for the final spot. Although he could point his way in right now, a win would dismiss almost all doubt whether or not he misses the playoffs for the first time in his career.
With Briscoe already locked into the playoffs after winning at Phoenix Raceway, SHR is hoping that some of his crew members can help the No. 4 team stay at the front and nab a win before the playoffs.
About the author
Anthony Damcott began his Frontstretch career in March 2022 and is currently the co-author of both Fire on Fridays (Fridays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays); he also pens a third column, the Tracking the Trucks race report. He hails from Akron, Ohio, and is a senior media communication/theatre arts double major at West Virginia Wesleyan College - so he really likes to talk a lot. In his free time, you'll typically find him acting on stage or watching other sports, mainly football and baseball. He also has a surprisingly big interest in ultimate frisbee.
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I hope he doesn’t start blaming the crew chief next or I will have to accuse him of doing something a former SHR driver used to do.