News & Media


Coy Stewart responds to Harvick-to-SHR report

November 09, 2012, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com



Coy Stewart responds to Harvick-to-SHR report
Harvick also tight-lipped, focused on racing for championship with RCR in 2013

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Tony Stewart neither confirmed nor denied an ESPN.com report that said Kevin Harvick would leave Richard Childress Racing to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing beginning in 2014.

The report, written by ESPN reporter Marty Smith, was posted Friday afternoon. Stewart was asked about it by Smith immediately following a Sprint Cup practice session for this Sunday's Advocare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

"I'll tell you this: When we have something to tell you ... we'll tell you. I've always said that."

--TONY STEWART


_________________________


"This is 2012. In 2013 my contract is with RCR. ... If I have something for 2014, I'll tell you. That's all I can tell you right now."

--KEVIN HARVICK

"It's actually Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. -- and Marty Smith is going to be in the fourth car. Yeah, that's where we're at," Stewart said in response. "I'll tell you this: When we have something to tell you guys [in the media], we'll tell you. I've always said that. So you guys can throw darts, but when we've got something different to tell you that's different than what we've already got going on, we'll tell you."

The report, however, seems to have legs.

Harvick enters this Sunday's race, the next-to-last of the 2012 season, 11th in the points. Even though he was one of 12 drivers to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he needs to win Sunday at PIR or the following Sunday at Homestead to avoid going winless in a season for the first time since 2009. Harvick won a combined seven races in 2010 and '11 while driving the No. 29 Chevrolet for RCR, including four last season.

So Harvick has been grumbling about the team's lack of performance much of this season.

"We need better, faster race cars," he said during an interview at the RCR shop toward the end of September. "We're working on it. We're getting there."

But since then, Harvick has struggled badly during the Chase. His ninth-place finish last Sunday at Texas was his first top-10 finish during the first eight Chase races and followed a 32nd-place finish at Martinsville a week earlier.

Harvick has driven for RCR in each of his 12 Cup seasons in NASCAR, and presumably would finish out his current contract by driving the No. 29 Chevy for the company next season before moving to SHR for the beginning of the multi-year deal, if the report proves true.

Stewart-Haas already is gearing up to add a third full-time Cup team next season, with that No. 10 Chevy to be driven by Danica Patrick. The team currently fields two full-time Cup cars -- the No. 39 driven by Ryan Newman and the No. 14 driven by Stewart, the defending series champion.

"Stewart-Haas Racing's driver lineup is all set for 2013, but if you're talking about 2014 and if Kevin Harvick is available, that's something the team would have to look at. Any team in this garage would do the same," SHR spokesman Mike Arning said.

"From the moment Stewart-Haas Racing was formed, becoming a four-car team is something it's been striving for. They have the infrastructure to accommodate a fourth team, and if everything aligns properly, it's something they'll do. So, if a driver the caliber of Kevin Harvick is available, it's something they would pursue."

Harvick began his Cup career in 2001 under difficult circumstances, when car owner Richard Childress tabbed him to replace Dale Earnhardt on RCR's driver roster after Earnhardt died in a last-lap accident of the 2001 Daytona 500. The car's number was changed from Earnhardt's iconic 3 to the No. 29 that Harvick has driven ever since, with Harvick posting a total of 18 career wins in the car.

Harvick made a couple brief comments after turning his qualifying lap Friday evening at PIR, but shed little light on the situation and declined several questions that were asked in an effort to get him to elaborate.

"This is 2012. In 2013 my contract is with RCR and we're going to race for a championship," Harvick said. "Right now I'm focused on what I'm focused on. If I have something for 2014, I'll tell you. That's all I can tell you right now."