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Stewart reportedly signed Kevin Harvick to driveUPDATE #2 Richard Childress was visibly upset as he stood next to grandson Ty Dillon's black truck during Friday's qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway. It had nothing to do with Dillon's chances to win the Camping World Truck Series championship, trailing James Buescher by 15 points with two races remaining. It had everything to do with an ESPN.com report that Sprint Cup driver #29-Kevin Harvick has signed a multi-year deal to begin driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.
"I've got a contract for 2013 and this is 2012," the owner of Richard Childress Racing said of his deal with Harvick. "I'm not talking to you about nothing [regarding that]. Too far out." Asked if Harvick had told him he will not drive for RCR beyond 2013, Childress barked, "You need to go talk to them people. Don't talk to me about it. If you want to talk to me about [the truck] championship, I'll talk about it. But don't talk to me about anything else."
Harvick's departure will be huge, particularly if he takes primary sponsor Budweiser with him. Remember, RCR lost Chaser Clint Bowyer to Michael Waltrip Racing after last season due to lack of sponsorship and had to shrink from four to three teams. Some will say Harvick leaving only opens the door for Childress' other grandson, Nationwide Series driver Austin Dillon, to move to Cup in 2014. But plans already were in place for Dillon to make the move then, either in the fourth car that is vacant or as a replacement for Jeff Burton, whose contract expires after 2013. And by the way, while Dillon will make his Daytona 500 debut in the #33 next year, Childress left open the possibility the #3 Earnhardt drove remains a strong possibility for his grandson.
"That's still on the table," Childress said. Sources close to the situation told me Childress was blindsided by the news, which explains his mood. Replacing Harvick has to now be his No. 1 goal in order to remain relevant in the series. In part from ESPN
11/09/12 Tony Stewart has reportedly signed Kevin Harvick to drive for his team beginning in 2014.
Stewart would not comment Friday on the report by ESPN.com, which said Harvick has signed a multi-year agreement to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing when his contract expires after next season. Asked about the report at Phoenix International Raceway, Stewart said he doesn't discuss business until he's got something official to announce.
"When we have something to tell you guys, we'll tell you," Stewart said. "I've always said, you guys can throw darts, but when we've got something to tell you that's different from what we've got going on, we'll obviously tell you."
11/09/12 For each of his 12 seasons in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Kevin Harvick has driven for Richard Childress Racing. That will change in 2014. Multiple NASCAR industry sources confirmed to ESPN.com Friday that Harvick has signed a multiyear agreement to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing beginning with the 2014 season. Harvick will remain at RCR in the #29 Chevy for the 2013 campaign, sources said.
"I'm looking forward to finishing out this season on a strong note with RCR and continuing to build our program going into the 2013 season with the ultimate goal of winning a championship," Harvick told ESPN.com Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, when he was asked about his future. "Anything beyond that, once I know what my future plans are set, I'll let you know." Under Stewart-Haas' current plan, sources said, Harvick will drive a fourth SHR Chevrolet, teaming with #14-Tony Stewart, #39-Ryan Newman and #10-Danica Patrick to form a four-car stable. "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," SHR team spokesman Mike Arning said.
"Any team in this garage would do the same. 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." ESPN
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