Harvick to leave RCR, cripple team?

UPDATE #3 Kevin Harvick did not discuss his future with Richard Childress Racing, instead he answered questions about his status by shifting focus to his preparation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We’re focused on this weekend," was a version of his standard response when pressed Saturday about his long-term options at RCR.

“Right now, we’re here to race and do what we need to do from a driver’s standpoint and everybody is working well together," he said when asked if he wanted to be with Childress beyond next year.

“We all want to make things the best that we can, and right now we’re working on Indy."

“As a team, we’ve been off in everything," Harvick said. “Everybody is kind of stale right now. Everything is not fast enough. Everything isn’t run good enough to be where everybody wants to be. I don’t really have anything to look at or look forward to.

“I don’t have anything cooking or anything different. Right now I’m the driver of the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil RCR Chevrolet. That’s my job. That’s what I intend to focus on. Everything else will take care of itself."

“A lot of the things that happen away from the race track are things that need to be kept within the walls of our companies or our homes," Harvick said. “The biggest thing that happened when everybody got in an uproar last time was it all went public. And that’s not going to happen.

“No matter what happens, in the end, Richard and I will always be friends. We will always have gone through a lot of good times together and hopefully we will go through a lot of great times together as we go forward. We’re not going to drag this thing—all of us drivers and the crew chiefs, we’re not going to drag this thing through the mud. We’re going to put our heads down and try to make it the best that we can."

“Everything away from the Cup side of it is probably the best year that we’ve had," Harvick said. “But in the end, the Cup car is what everything is built around. And when you come home on Monday, that’s the last thing (race) you’ve done and we could shut the doors on everything else, and (Cup) is still all that matters. This is what makes it all go around." Yahoo Sports

[Editor's Note: Prediction – Harvick will soon sit on the pole for a Cup race, and probably even win one. By the grace of God these timely things happen in NASCAR.]

07/19/09 Kevin Harvick, in St. Louis for Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide 250 race at Gateway International Raceway, declined to comment on reports that he wanted out of the final year of his Sprint Cup driving contract with team owner Richard Childress. When reports came out last week that Harvick wanted out, after some two winless seasons, Childress himself was quick to insist that Harvick would be back with him again next season, and that Shell-Pennzoil would again be the sponsor. Harvick however has yet to address those reports. MikeMulhern.net

07/15/09 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.

An official statement by RCR representatives on the issue is expected today. ThatsRacin.com

07/14/09 Kevin Harvick has told Richard Childress he would like to leave after this season, according to multiple sources. Harvick has one year remaining on his contract with RCR, but the Shell/Pennzoil sponsorship deal on the No. 29 ends at the end of this season, and Harvick is trying to move with it to Stewart-Haas.

Tony Stewart has said his team is interested in running a third car in Sprint Cup in 2010. Adding Harvick in a package with a strong sponsor would be a masterstroke.

Childress is in a tough spot. He could hold Harvick to the contract and try to re-sign Shell/Pennzoil, but in a performance-based business, the Stewart-Haas option, undoubtedly, is more appealing to the gas and oil company. If Shell/Pennzoil decides to leave, Childress has to find $15 million to $20 million in sponsorship to replace it — a very difficult prospect in this economy.

With Tony Stewart's leadership and ability to add sponsorship, as well as the chassis-and-engine partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and the infrastructure investment made in the team by Gene Haas, Stewart-Haas has become one of the two or three best teams in Sprint Cup in less than a year. Stewart leads the points, Hendrick's Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are second and third, respectively, Stewart-Haas' Ryan Newman is seventh and Mark Martin is 11th (his four wins lead the season). SI.com

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