Contrary to multiple Internet reports Tuesday and today indicating otherwise, the sponsorship deal between Shell Oil Co. and Richard Childress Racing and its No. 29 Chevrolet Sprint Cup Series team extends through the 2010 season.
Representatives with Shell confirmed via e-mail to the Observer today the sponsor's deal matches the current contract of the team's driver Kevin Harvick. Harvick's contract with RCR also goes through the 2010 season.
A Sports Illustrated online column on Tuesday first reported Harvick had asked for an early release from his contract at RCR and posed the possibility he could move to Stewart-Hass Racing. This was possible, the column stated, because sponsor Shell's deal is up at the end of this season.
That, however, was denied today by Shell officials as well as in a statement released by RCR.
"Richard Childress Racing has a multi-year contract with Shell-Pennzoil that includes the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Shell-Pennzoil remains a great partner for RCR and Kevin Harvick as well as our sport overall," the statement said.
"RCR also has a multi-year contract with Kevin Harvick that includes the 2010 season. That said, Shell will be the sponsor and Kevin will be the driver of RCR's No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS in 2010."
The following statement was issued by Heidi Massey-Bong, senior business advisor for Shell Oil Co.'s NASCAR sponsorship program:
"Shell and Pennzoil have enjoyed much success on and off the track as a result of our alliance with RCR and Kevin Harvick. We are pleased to be sponsoring the No. 29 car in 2010 and look forward to watching the Shell and Pennzoil colors each week as part of the RCR team and to continued success next season. Beyond that, we do not have any further news or information regarding the rumors."
Harvick could not be immediately reached for comment.
The driver is currently 25th in points this season with two top-10 finishes in 19 races.