Kevin Harvick Gets a Much Needed Top 10 at The Brickyard

Tom ThomasonCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 25:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, smiles in the garage before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In the news of late because of his desire to leave RCR, Kevin Harvick has to feel good about Sunday's sixth place finish at the Brickyard.

He doesn't get as much attention as other struggling drivers (like Jr.), but Kevin Harvick is struggling none the less. He hasn't won a race since the 2007 Daytona 500 and has only three top tens this year.

Then there was the report that Harvick has asked for his release from Richard Childress racing. Childress issued a statement saying that Harvick would remain with the team until the end of his current contract, which runs through 2010.

When asked about his future plans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, Harvick declined to comment while maintaining that he was concentrating on this weekend's race.

His frustration with his worst season of his career is clearly weighing on him. Harvick has been a championship contender for most of his career as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. Harvick came to Indianapolis 25th in points. He finished fourth in last year's chase with 19 top 10's for the year. It's been 90 races since his last victory.

There are also rumors that Harvick may be positioning himself to be the third driver at Stewart-Haas Racing. This would be a great move for both parties if Harvick could get out if his contract with RCR. Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman are having a great season supported by Rick Hendrick Engines and Chassis.

You also have to consider Shell/Pennzoil. They are not going to want to dish out another 20 million for another bad season at RCR. You can bet that they would be more then willing to follow Harvick if he moved to SHR.

And who knows, this might open the door for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to finally drive the No. 3 for Childress since he seems to be completely outclassed by the other drivers in the Hendrick stable. Dale Jr. is a good driver who might feel more comfortable as the top driver for a different team. Sometimes feeling like the top dog can increase your confidence.

If Harvick does leave Childress, Richard will have to find another flagship driver to lead the team. But, there isn’t much chance of Dale Jr. leaving the security of Hendrick. So this will leave Childress without an exciting driver to convince sponsors to spend a lot of money.

In the end, sometimes a clean break is the best way to move on. Harvick needs his confidence back and Childress needs a hot driver.