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Kevin Harvick to take Budweiser sponsorship with him to Stewart-Haas Racing

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Jul. 12, 2013

NASCAR fans finally know what’s on tap for Kevin Harvick next season: He will still drive a Budweiser-adorned car in the Sprint Cup Series.

Reports surfaced late last season Harvick would move to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 but Friday was the first time Harvick and team co-owner Tony Stewart confirmed the news, including Budweiser’s decision to continue sponsoring Harvick at SHR.

At this year’s preseason media tour, Harvick admitted he was leaving RCR – where he has spent his entire Sprint Cup Series career – but had been unwilling to say where he was headed.

Harvick’s said his main objective is to make the most out of his present situation, is to compete for the series championship. He’ll start 19th in Sunday’s Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I think everybody has kind of latched onto the message that we’re going to go out and we’re going to race every week as hard as we can,” said Harvick, who is fourth in the series standings with two wins this season.

“I was sitting in a competition meeting for the Chase with (competition director) Eric Warren on Wednesday morning, so it’s not like we’ve detached ourselves from what we’re doing. And those guys on the team, they don’t care about the politics of the sport, they just want to win races.

“They like spraying beer in Victory Lane and as a group we’re going to do that until we get to Homestead.”

Harvick will drive the No. 4 Chevrolet at SHR next season and will be sponsored in 20 races by Budweiser – the same sponsorship commitment he has from the company this season at RCR.

SHR still needs to secure sponsorship for 18 other races to fully cover Harvick’s car.

Harvick said there was no sponsor commitment in place when he agreed to leave RCR.

“We went to the team at SHR, we worked out my contract and they basically guaranteed what the car would have on it on the race track and they basically took full responsibility to figure out what direction they wanted to go from a sponsorship standpoint and how to make it go around,” he said.

Stewart said he was excited about Harvick joining the organization.

“It was a lot of work to get this done,” said Stewart, who has run several Nationwide series races for Harvick’s Kevin Harvick Inc. organization in the past.

“It started two years ago, I guess, was the thought process of hiring another driver. We just went through those steps, obviously, to get where we are today.”

Outside his debut in the Truck series, Harvick’s entire Cup and Nationwide careers have been spent at RCR.

Making a change wasn’t easy, Harvick said, but was needed from a personal standpoint.

“For me, the situation with Tony (Stewart) and having that relationship with a guy that is going to be sitting in the cars next to you and having that kind of teammate that has won championships and a team that has won championships in the last couple of years is something that is just exciting,” Harvick said.

“Then you add in the Hendrick (Motorsports) support side of it and there is a lot to draw from. It wasn’t anything personal. It was just me needing to rejuvenate myself.

“Just like everybody else’s job, sometimes you just need a change to get going again.”

Harvick Highlights

Kevin Harvick has spent his entire Sprint Cup Series career with Richard Childress Racing. He moves to Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Here’s a look at some of his career highlights at RCR:

• Made his first start for RCR in what is now the Nationwide Series on Feb. 19, 2000, at Daytona International Speedway. He started seventh and finished second.

• Took over as driver of the No. 29 (then No. 3) Cup series team of Dale Earnhardt after Earnhardt was killed in a last-lap wreck in the 2001 Daytona 500.

• Won two races and finished ninth in the Cup series standings in 2001, as well as won the first of his two Nationwide championships.

• Won his first Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2003 and his first Daytona 500 in 2007.

• Won his second Nationwide Series championship in 2006 while running a full schedule in the Cup series, where he finished fourth in points.

• Finished a career-best third in Cup points in both 2010 and 2011 and is on track to make the Chase this season for the fourth consecutive season.

- Jim Utter



Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
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