Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
May 19, 2016

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Kevin Harvick to a long-term contract extension, ending speculation that the 2014 Sprint Cup champion wanted to leave.

The team announced the signing on Thursday, two days after Harvick sniped on social media about the gossip suggesting he was planning to exit the organization. The speculation began when SHR said earlier this season it will move to Fords next year. Harvick has a long relationship with Chevrolet.

''It was a big decision to join Stewart-Haas Racing and it has turned out to be my best decision,'' said Harvick. ''I came to Stewart-Haas Racing to win championships. We have one, but that only made us hungry for more. I'm very happy to have my future secure with a team so dedicated to winning.''

Harvick joined SHR in 2014 and immediately won his first Cup championship. He's won nine of his 32 career Sprint Cup races with SHR.

Harvick will continue to drive the team's No. 4 entry and remain with crew chief Rodney Childers, who signed a multiyear contract extension last June.

''Kevin's results speak for themselves, and in addition to those numbers, he brings a presence to our team that makes everyone want to work harder,'' said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Gene Haas. ''Kevin Harvick has made Stewart-Haas Racing a better team and he will continue to be an integral part of our future.''

Haas called Harvick ''an exceptional talent.'' In his first year with the team, Harvick won five races and led 2,137 laps en route to the championship. Harvick won three races last year and earned career-best numbers in top-five finishes (23), top 10s (28) and laps led (2,294) before finishing second in the championship.

Harvick has one win this season, five top-fives, nine top-10s and 688 laps led in the 12 Sprint Cup races.

''When you have talented people who consistently deliver results, you hold on to them,'' Haas said.

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