AVONDALE, ARIZ. (AP) - 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.”
Stewart, a three-time series champion, is expanding SHR to three cars next year when Danica Patrick moves to the Sprint Cup Series full-time. Stewart and Ryan Newman have driven for the team since Stewart became a co-owner in 2009, and Patrick is driving her 10th and final race of the season Sunday at Phoenix.
Team spokesman Mike Arning said Friday that Stewart’s goal has always been to expand to four cars and Harvick, one of Stewart’s close friends in NASCAR, would be a candidate if available when the team is ready.
“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. Any team in this garage would do the same,” Arning said. “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.”
Harvick is in his 12th Sprint Cup season with Richard Childress Racing. He’s won 18 races, but never finished higher than third in the championship standings. Harvick is currently winless on the season and ranked 11th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.
The report came the same day RCR announced Austin Dillon will drive the No. 33 in next season’s Daytona 500 with sponsorship from Cheerios.
Team owner Childress is openly grooming his organization for his grandsons, Austin and Ty Dillon, who are currently competing in NASCAR’s lower national levels.
RCR is running three teams in the Sprint Cup Series after Childress let Clint Bowyer leave for Michael Waltrip Racing this season.
Only Harvick made the Chase, while Paul Menard is ranked 16th and Jeff Burton 19th in the standings. All are winless in the standings.
Elliott Sadler, though, is tied with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. atop the Nationwide Series standings with two races to go in the championship race.
Sadler has been let go by Childress for next year. Austin Dillon is third in the Nationwide standings, while Ty Dillon is second in the Truck Series standings.
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