Budweiser will join Richard Childress Racing as the primary sponsor for Kevin Harvick's No. 29 car starting in 2011.
Shell/Pennzoil had been Harvick's primary sponsor since 2007, but earlier this year announced it was leaving the current points leader for Kurt Busch next season.
After several years with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Budweiser hooked up with Kasey Kahne in 2008 when Earnhardt left Dale Earnhardt Inc. and joined Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne is now also headed to Hendrick Motorsports, but not before a pit stop with Red Bull next season. Bud opted not to follow Kahne, nor did it want to stick with a Richard Petty Motorsports program that still has much work to do to become an elite organization again.
Listen to Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress (13 minutes, 51 seconds)
Press release follows:
ST. LOUIS (August 17, 2010) - Budweiser has a rich NASCAR tradition, sponsoring some of the sport's most celebrated drivers, including Bobby Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. Today, Budweiser announced Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick will become the next star to take the wheel of the iconic Budweiser car when the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season begins in February.
"Budweiser's involvement in NASCAR dates back more than three decades, and we're excited to have as successful a driver as Kevin Harvick to usher in a new era for Budweiser," said Mark Wright, vice president of media, sports & entertainment marketing, Anheuser-Busch. "Kevin also benefits from having the support of a highly respected owner in Richard Childress and the great people of Richard Childress Racing, who will help put the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet in a position to challenge for Sprint Cup championships."
Under the terms of the deal, Budweiser will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 29 Chevrolet for 20 points races, two non-points races during Speedweeks and co-primary sponsor of the Sprint All-Star Race. Budweiser will remain an associate sponsor for the remaining races on the schedule.
"Budweiser is one of the most respected sponsors in our sport," said Harvick. "They do a lot to market their teams and the sport in television broadcasts and away from the track. I'm looking forward to driving the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, taking it to Victory Lane and winning championships."
The 2011 season will mark Harvick's tenth full year in NASCAR's top series. In 2001, he earned two victories en route to a ninth-place finish and Rookie of the Year honors. Harvick has 14 Sprint Cup Series wins, 72 top-five and 145 top-10 finishes, with major points victories coming in the 2003 Brickyard 400 and 2007 Daytona 500. Since the introduction of the season-ending "Chase for the Sprint Cup" format in 2004, Harvick has made the Chase three times and on two occasions finished a career-high fourth in the final point standings. He is also the two-time and defending champion of the Budweiser Shootout (2009-2010).
Harvick currently sits atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with three wins, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, and became the first driver to clinch a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup - his fourth appearance in five years - following his win at the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
"Throughout his career, Kevin has shown he can win at any level in NASCAR," said Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing. "Combining his talent with Budweiser's NASCAR lineage and proven track record of innovative sponsorship activations makes this an exciting pairing for fans everywhere. RCR prides itself on its heritage and authenticity, so working with a brand like Budweiser, which has built their reputation on those same values, is a very special opportunity."
Harvick has also made a name for himself in both the Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series and Camping World (formerly Craftsman) Truck Series. Since his breakout Busch Series season in 2000, when he earned three wins and Rookie of the Year honors, Harvick has won two overall titles (2001, 2006) and, in 2003, the owner's-only championship with co-driver Johnny Sauter. During that same period in the Truck Series, he has nine victories, 35 top-five and 48 top-10 finishes in just 105 races.
The King of Beers first sponsored a team on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuit in 1983 and its legacy in racing has been solidified by popular drivers like Terry Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, Geoff Bodine, Bill Elliott, Kenny Schrader, Ricky Craven, Wally Dallenbach, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.
Richard Childress Racing (www.rcrracing.com) has earned more than 180 victories and 12 NASCAR championships, including six in the Sprint Cup Series with the legendary Dale Earnhardt. RCR was the first organization to win championships in the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. Its 2010 Sprint Cup Series lineup includes Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet), Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) and Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet). Bowyer drives the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet in the 2010 Nationwide Series, Austin Dillon drives the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet in the 2010 Camping World Truck Series and Tim George Jr. drives the No. 31 RCR Development Chevrolet in the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards. Ty Dillon and Ryan Gifford are RCR developmental drivers in both asphalt and dirt track racing.
-- Brian De Los Santos