Harvick to run SHR No. 4; no ride for Newman
July 12, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Sponsor and driver, together since 2011, head to Stewart-Haas Racing
LOUDON, N.H. -- Kevin Harvick won’t be the only one making the move to Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Budweiser, Harvick’s primary sponsor at Richard Childress Racing, is making the switch as well.
Officials with SHR and Budweiser made the announcement Friday.
“To be a part of the (Budweiser) brand has been a lot of fun,” Harvick said at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301. “Not only do they sell beer, but they activate like nobody else.”
Harvick said once he and the organization, co-owned by three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart and businessman Gene Haas, reached an agreement for his services, SHR management began the process of obtaining funding.
“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,” Harvick said. ”It didn’t have $1 of sponsorship when I signed the contract.”
SHR fields three Cup teams -- the No. 14 for Stewart, the No. 39 of Ryan Newman and the No. 10 of Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Danica Patrick.
Harvick’s arrival, however, doesn’t mean SHR will expand to four teams for 2014. Stewart confirmed Friday that Newman will not be with the organization next season.
“No, we are not ready to expand to a fourth team,” Stewart said. “Unfortunately, this will be the last year that we have Ryan with us.
“That’s probably what has made this a bittersweet day. I’m bringing in another one of my friends to the organization, but also knowing that I’m losing a friend at the end of the year to the organization.”
Harvick, fourth in points with two wins this season, will race the No. 4 entry for SHR. No other personnel for the team have been announced.
“I’m sure we will sit down and talk about crew chiefs and things because obviously those will have to happen before we get to December,” Harvick, 37, said. “We will talk about a direction and that will be probably the extent of the conversation moving forward.
“Everybody is sensitive to wanting to make sure that we do a good job this year at RCR and they do a good job in their current situation.”
Harvick has 21 career wins at the Cup level, and has finished 10th or higher in points nine times during a 13-year career. He has competed in Cup for RCR since 2001, when he was called upon following the death of seven-time Cup champ Dale Earnhardt.
Although he is leaving at the end of the year, Harvick said there has been no less effort put into his team’s efforts this year.
“I think everybody has kind of latched onto the message that the three of us (Harvick, Childress and crew chief Gil Martin) have fed them, that we’re going to go out and we’re going to race every week as hard as we can,” he said.
“I was sitting in a competition meeting for the Chase with Eric Warren (director of competition) 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 and we’ll start working on the future plans when that race is over.”
Budweiser has been involved in the sport as a sponsor since 1983 when the company funded the No. 44 Stratograph Racing team with driver Terry Labonte.