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Report: Harvick To Join SHR In 2014

[1]Kevin Harvick signed a multi-year agreement to drive for Stewart Haas Racing in 2014, according to ESPN.com [2], which cited multiple anonymous sources. Harvick is under contract to drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2013, and he plans to honor the rest of his contract, sources said.

Harvick 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. Anything beyond that, once I know what my future plans are set, I’ll let you know.

In 2014, Harvick will join the SHR stable, which includes Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, and Danica Patrick.

RCR owner Richard Childress wouldn’t talk about the rumor:

I’ve got a contract for 2013 and this is 2012. I’m not talking to you about nothing (regarding that).

Harvick has 18 career Sprint Cup victories, and has driven for RCR since his Cup career began, the week after Dale Earnhardt Sr was killed in a crash at Daytona International Speedway.

In 2010, Harvick considered leaving the team, but decided to stay in good faith. This time, he chose to leave because he thinks SHR will provide motivation that seems to be lacking at RCR.

RCR shrunk to three cars this season, after Clint Bowyer left due to a lack of sponsorship [3]. Reports indicated that Bowyer had a sponsor lined up, but RCR wasn’t interested. As a result, Bowyer left to join Michael Waltrip Racing [4] and had arguably the best season of his career.

Childress’ grandsons both drive in NASCAR’s lower levels. Austin Dillon is driving in the Nationwide Series, where he sits third in points. Dillon will drive the No. 33 in the Daytona 500 next season.

Ty Dillon drives in the Camping World Truck Series, where he sits second in points.

Childress is grooming RCR for his grandsons to eventually take over. While there is nothing to indicate that this has anything to do with Harvick’s decision, it is possible that it does.

Paul Menard and Jeff Burton have been struggling this season, with both out of the top 15 in the standings and winless.

Elliott Sadler, who drives the team’s Nationwide Series entry, is tied for the N’Wide series points lead. He will not return to RCR [5] next season. He is rumored to be close to a deal with Joe Gibbs Racing [6]. Ty Dillon could move up to the Nationwide Series next season.

Update: Stewart was asked to comment on the rumor. He said:

Well, it’s actually Dale, Jr. And (NASCAR reporter) Marty Smith is actually going to be in the fourth car. Yes, that’s where we are at. I will tell you this, when we have something to tell you guys, we’ll tell you. I’ve always said that. You guys can throw darts, but when we have something to tell you that’s different than what we’ve got going on, we’ll obviously tell you.

Update 2: Kevin Harvick is said to be taking Budweiser and Jimmy Johns with him to Stewart Haas Racing in 2014.

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