LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Kevin Harvick will take his Budweiser sponsorship with him when he moves to Stewart-Haas Racing next season.
Harvick will drive the No. 4 Chevrolet for SHR. Budweiser will serve as primary sponsor for 20 races as well as the Budweiser Duel during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Budweiser will serve as a major associate sponsor for the remaining races on the Sprint Cup Series schedule.
Harvick has 21 Cup wins, 96 top-fives and 198 top-10 finishes in his career. He drives the No. 29 for Richard Childress Racing and is fourth in the point standings this season.
Harvick made the decision last year to leave the RCR team that hired him in 1999. He’s made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship the last three seasons.
“When you show up to the same desk for 12 or 13 years, you’re like, ‘Man, I need a new desk,’” Harvick said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “It’s just something where you want a change of pace. That’s one of the pieces it all boiled down to.”
SHR fields cars this season for Stewart, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick. Stewart said Newman, 16th in the points race, will not return in 2014.
“We’re not ready to expand to a fourth team,” Stewart said. “That’s what’s made this a bittersweet day. I’m bringing in another one of my friends to the organization, also knowing that I’m losing a friend at the end of the year. … This was a business decision.”
Newman, of course, could fill the empty seat at RCR. Kurt Busch, who drives for Furniture Row Racing, is a potential candidate along with Childress’ grandson, Austin Dillon.
Harvick has represented Budweiser since 2011. Bud has been a staple in the Cup Series dating back to its sponsorship of Terry Labonte’s No. 44 Chevrolet at Stratograph Racing in 1983. Budweiser has celebrated a championship and nearly 60 wins in NASCAR’s elite division with the likes of Darrell Waltrip, Geoff Bodine, Bill Elliott, Kenny Schrader, Ricky Craven, Wally Dallenbach, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Harvick.
“I’ve developed a great relationship with so many people at Budweiser and am very happy it’s an association that will continue for many years to come,” Harvick said. “We’ve enjoyed a lot of success together and our expectations match right up with those of Stewart-Haas Racing.”
That inconsistency and inability to win a Cup title with RCR had been frustrating for Harvick, and led to a revolving door of crew chiefs on the No. 29 the last several years. As Harvick went winless through the first 34 points races last year, it made sense to look around even though his contract ran through 2013.
He settled on a move to SHR, where he will drive for Stewart and get a chance to see if a fresh start will push him to the top of the series.
“Budweiser is the leader in its industry and Kevin has proven himself year-after-year in our sport. It’s a partnership we welcome as it will make our entire organization stronger,” Stewart said.
Harvick has been with RCR in the Cup series since he replaced Dale Earnhardt after his fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500.
“I can’t thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR enough for everything they’ve done for my career,” Harvick added. “I was just trying to make a name for myself in the Truck Series and Richard believed in me enough to make me a part of his race team back in 1999. Without him, and without the hard work of so many people at RCR, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Follow Dan Gelston on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APGelston