Motorsport.com’s Lee Spencer caught up with winning team owner Gene Haas on top of the No. 41 Haas Automation pit box at Phoenix International Raceway prior to the start of the Good Sam 500.
Before Kevin Harvick collected Stewart-Haas Racing’s 31st career Cup win at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Haas discussed a variety of topics, including his foray into Formula 1 with the Haas F1 Team and how he's extended invitations to fellow NASCAR team owners to check it out.
Recently, there's been speculation that SHR's star driver Harvick may be entertaining a new opportunity at Hendrick Motorsports. This comes about after the surprising news that the organization plans to cut ties with Chevrolet and Hendrick in favor of Ford and Roush-Yates engines for next year.
Harvick's contract still up in the air
Despite his reassurance of his commitment to SHR, Harvick has yet to re-sign the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion.
Lee Spencer: Although Stewart-Haas Racing is not supposed to discuss the move to Ford in 2017, a big component of that deal is the inclusion of Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick. When do you expect to re-sign him?
"We always say we don’t discuss drivers’ contracts. I’m not really sure when his contract expires and all the details. But he’s been very positive about it and I have no hints that he would want to change even though he’s been approached by some other teams. At the moment, things look good from where we stand.
Lee Spencer: Since the Ford announcement, have you noticed a change in performance at Stewart-Haas Racing?
"We haven’t won yet," laughed Haas.
Lee Spencer: That will likely change today.
"We usually win by now," joked Haas (mere hours before Harvick won the race at PIR in a photo finish).
"So I guess our performance is off a little bit. We need to get back out there and get going. We want to win."
Working with Penske
As for the aforementioned move to Ford, Motorsport.com's Lee Spencer wanted to know if there is planned collaboration between SHR and the current flagship team for the blue oval -- Team Penske.
"I would hope so. There should be some economics to sharing something. Who knows what that’s going to be? Like anything else, it takes time to develop that. Stewart-Haas Racing, we have all the capabilities to do everything in house. So we’re not worried about that. The commonality would be the engine program.
"I think everybody gets their engines from (Roush) Yates Racing so that’s probably where we’d be the most concerned, making sure the resources are given to Doug Yates so we have the best engines. I’m not too worried about that because I think the engine platforms, the technology for everybody is at parity."