Richard Childress Racing has probably lost its faint chance to keep
RCR already faced a serious, uphill challenge in trying to retain Harvick, who is in the final year of his contract, even if it had managed to hold onto Pennzoil, sponsor of Harvick's No. 29 since 2007. Harvick, according to multiple sources reached by SI.com but never confirmed by the driver,
"Kevin has burned all his bridges here," said a source requesting anonymity following the news of Shell's departure. The source reiterated the chances of Childress and Harvick dissolving their marriage were close to 100 percent.
Harvick, with 11 wins, including the 2007 Daytona 500, and three Chase seasons, is the top free agent driver on the market. His preferred destination is Stewart-Haas Racing, where he'd have Hendrick equipment.
The other possibility would be for Hendrick to ask
Harvick said last weekend at Texas that Kahne's signing with Hendrick had no impact on his plans. But he's consistently refused to talk about his 2011status since last year. When asked to elaborate on the subject at Texas, Harvick said: "I'm happy to be at Texas. I love it."
RCR was a four-car team last year with
This has been a resurgent season for RCR, which has Harvick fourth,
In a statement, Richard Childress was optimistic about putting together a sponsorship package for Harvick.
"What this creates for RCR is the opportunity for a new partner to forge its own relationship and identity with Kevin Harvick," Childress said. "The No. 29 team has had only two primary sponsors since it began in 2001, but the number 3 has played a significant role in RCR for decades. We feel strongly that the third chapter of the No. 29 team's partnership history will be a successful one."
For the Penske organization, it's a gigantic boost. The Cup team has been underfunded for the past several years and the addition of Pennzoil with a multi-year contract brings a second bona fide major sponsor to it. Miller will become
"Sam has continued to show improvement on the track this year," a spokesman said via e-mail. "Penske Racing looks forward to Sam continuing with our NASCAR Cup Series program in 2011 and his sponsorship will be determined in the near future."
Neither Hornish nor Harvick have sponsorship at their current employers, but here's the difference: Hornish doesn't have any better options and doesn't want to leave; Harvick wants to leave and has a better option in Stewart-Haas.