It’s been unofficial for quite awhile now that Kevin Harvick will be leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and heading to Stewart-Haas Racing. The move finally became official on Friday, and additional details were revealed.
Harvick will drive a No. 4 Chevrolet for SHR next year, sponsored by Budweiser. Budweiser has been one of Harvick’s primary sponsors at Childress the last few years, but like Harvick, the sponsor is also leaving Richard Childress Racing for Stewart-Haas. Budweiser will be the primary sponsor on Harvick’s No. 4 for 20 points-paying races next year and an associate sponsor for the other 16.
“I’ve developed a great relationship with so many people at Budweiser and am very happy it’s an association that will continue for many years to come,” Harvick said. “We’ve enjoyed a lot of success together, and our expectations match right up with those of Stewart-Haas Racing.”
Harvick has been with RCR since joining the team to race in the Busch (now-Nationwide) Series in 1999. He was moved to the Winston (now-Sprint) Cup level in 2001 following the death of Dale Earnhardt.
“I can’t thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR enough for everything they’ve done for my career,” Harvick said. “I was just trying to make a name for myself in the Truck Series and Richard believed in me enough to make me a part of his race team back in 1999. Withoug him, and without the hard work of so many people at RCR, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Suspicion has Harvick and current SHR driver Ryan Newman switching rides. Newman’s contract with Stewart-Haas is up at the end of the year and assumptions have him leaving the organization at the end of the year because of a lack of sponsorship. Meanwhile, RCR owner Richard Childress has expressed interest in signing Newman. Also, there is a chance that Childress’ grandson Austin Dillon may be moving up to the Cup level to drive a No. 3 Sprint Cup car next year.
Both RCR and SHR currently field three full-time teams in the Sprint Cup Series. Richard Childress Racing also fields cars for Paul Menard and Jeff Burton. Stewart-Haas Racing also has Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick within its driving stable.
– photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR