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Harvick seals NASCAR Sprint Cup deal with Stewart-Haas

LOUDON, N.H. — Kevin Harvick was stuck in a rut after so many empty seasons chasing a championship with Richard Childress Racing.

"When you show up to the same desk for 12 or 13 years, you're like, 'Man, I need a new desk,' " he said.

More like a new team.

So Harvick is making his long-awaited move to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 — and taking his Budweiser sponsorship with him. Harvick will have the brewing company on the No. 4 Chevrolet as the primary sponsor for 20 Sprint Cup races in 2014.

"It was just me needing to rejuvenate myself," Harvick, 37, said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Harvick's move had been brewing since he made the decision last year to bolt RCR, which hired him in 1999.

He will replace Ryan Newman at SHR after this season. Harvick joins co-owner Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick as drivers.

"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."

Stewart told Newman on Wednesday night that he was out.

"I do not know what my future holds. I have no idea," said Newman, 35, who has three wins in five seasons at SHR. "That's something that weighs on my shoulders. I have a little homework to do. I can't say I'm happy with how everything unfolded."

Sprint Cup qualifying: Brad Kese­lowski turned a lap of 135.922 mph to set a track record and earn the pole for Sunday's Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Nine drivers topped the record held by Newman, who went 135.232 in 2011. Jimmie Johnson had the second-best speed but his car failed inspection because both sides of the front of his No. 48 Chevrolet were too low. He'll start in the rear, in 43rd. Kurt Busch (135.835 mph) will start second instead. Only 43 cars tried to qualify so Morgan Shepherd, 71, made the field and will be the oldest driver to start a Sprint Cup race.

IndyCar: Dario Franchitti earned the pole with a lap of 59.6756 seconds for today's Honda Indy Toronto race, the first of a weekend doubleheader, with St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais (59.7701) second. Today's race will have a standing start, a first for IndyCar; Sunday's race will use a normal rolling start.

Harvick seals NASCAR Sprint Cup deal with Stewart-Haas 07/12/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 12, 2013 10:24pm]
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