Harvick to stay at RCR

UPDATE #5 Kevin Harvick has been noticeably unhappy this season. And even Friday's unusual announcement by car owner Richard Childress that he and Harvick would be living up to their contract and sticking together through the 2006 season hasn't diminished speculation that Harvick has something in the works. There's speculation that he might have a 2007 game plan with car owners Roger Penske or Chip Ganassi. The Ganassi option seems logical. Jamie McMurray has signed a 2007 contract to take Mark Martin's place with Jack Roush, so Ganassi has that hole to fill. So this year's version of NASCAR's annual game of musical chairs has taken on an unusual tone. Now, might Ganassi release McMurray to Roush for 2006, if Ganassi could get Harvick from Childress, and would that be enough inducement for Roush to release Kurt Busch to Penske for 2006? Winston Salem Journal

09/16/05 Kevin Harvick will be back behind the wheel of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Speculation has fueled rumors that the 2001 NEXTEL Cup Series Rookie of the Year would move to another team at the end of this season. RCR President and CEO Richard Childress hopes to put that speculation to rest.

“Kevin will be the driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevy next season," said Childress. “He and I have committed to moving forward together in fulfilling our current agreement, which runs through 2006, and we anticipate being together for many years beyond that. Our focus is on continuing to improve our performance this year and being a championship contender in 2006."

Harvick is in his fifth year of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition, all with RCR, and has five victories, 30 top-five and 63 top-10 finishes, and four poles. He is currently 14th in this season’s point standings with one victory, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. In his sixth season of driving in the NASCAR Busch Series for RCR, he has 16 victories, 60 top-five and 85 top-10 finishes, and 13 poles.

“Richard has made key additions to RCR that will benefit the organization," said Harvick. We are both committed to make 2006 a successful season. I’ve always intended to fulfill my obligations to Richard, RCR and all of our sponsors." RCR

09/05/05 Rumors here [California Speedway] are widespread that Kevin Harvick may be headed to Ganassi’s #42 Texaco Dodge, thus freeing Jamie McMurray to move to Roush Racing [#6] a year early [he signed for 2007]. Richard Childress, who owns the cars Harvick currently drives, wouldn’t comment directly on speculation that the team might be breaking up. Childress did, however, reminisce on the longstanding relationship between him and the late Dale Earnhardt. “He (Earnhardt) had a chance to leave," said Childress. “I told him in 1985 after we had blown 11 engines that year and run horrible. I told him on the way back from Pocono, we met out by my pool, and I said, ‘Dale, you’re too good of a race driver to be here.’ He said, ‘We made a commitment together, and we’re going to finish it together.’ That was 1985 and we came back next year and won 11 races and the championship, and the same thing in 1987, and the rest is history." Gaston Gazette

08/30/05 After Kevin Harvick was caught up in the Jarrett-Newman [2nd] wreck, he got out of his car and ripped his team and his spotter on camera. “Happy" has been increasingly vocal in his public criticism of his RCR team, leading to speculation that he’s angling to leave for what he perceives to be greener pastures. The buzz is that he wants to replace Jamie McMurray next year in Chip Ganassi’s #42 Texaco Dodge, which would free McMurray to replace Mark Martin in Jack Roush’s #6 Ford in 2006, which in turn would mean Roush might allow Kurt Busch to leave to join Roger Penske’s team next year, replacing Rusty Wallace. And with Scott Riggs leaving MB2 Motorsports to drive Ray Evernham’s third [#10] car next year, soon-to-be-former-Ganassi-driver Sterling Marlin might take Riggs’s spot with MB2 next year. Speed Channel [Editor's Note: If Harvick leaves RCR that will open the door for Paul Tracy, but why would Tracy want to drive for a team that appears to have lost their way? Why would Tracy ruin his career going from a winner in Champ Car to a loser in NASCAR?]

08/27/05 Kevin Harvick, saying he’s putting pressure on [Richard] Childress to improve the team and could leave next year if his things don’t go the way he wants. “I’m checking things out and really just trying to see how it all goes," Harvick said Friday. “We’ll race to the end of the year and see what happens." Queried about his relationship with his car owner, Harvick added, “I think I’ve been leaning on him pretty hard … I just want to see some improvement in the whole organization." Speed Channel

08/15/05 Kevin Harvick is one of the biggest-name drivers who is not signed up for 2007. Harvick says his contract with Childress is up at the end of the 2006 season – the same as Busch and Jamie McMurray. Harvick says he wants to see some improvements in the Childress camp before he resumes contract renegotiations with Childress. Harvick has General Motors ties through Childress and through his own Busch and Truck programs, and those GM sponsorships are also at stake [not returning to his Truck Series team]. "Richard and I have a deal and I will fulfill that, and hopefully into the future, so there's no point in talking about doing anything different, because this is what I'm doing," Harvick said. However Harvick has not been pleased with his performance this season and says he wants to see improvements before he signs any new contract with Childress: "It's not that I'm unhappy, I just want to see some improvements. I want to see what all these changes do. I don't want to get into a situation where we make changes and it gets worse." Winston Salem Journal

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