The worst kept secret in NASCAR has been confirmed as Kevin Harvick will drive the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing beginning in 2014.
Harvick will also take his Budweiser sponsorship with him from his current team, Richard Childress Racing. The company will be his primary Sprint Cup sponsor in 20 point events and an associate sponsor in the remaining 16 races.
Harvick acknowledged last fall he would be leaving RCR after the end of this season, but would not specifically state which team he was signing with. It has been widely speculated that he would be joining SHR, but neither the team nor driver would comment about their future plans together.
Friday's statement was the first public affirmation that Harvick would be driving a car owned by good friend Tony Stewart.
"I've developed a great relationship with so many people at Budweiser and am very happy it's an association that will continue for many years to come," Harvick said in a statement. "We've enjoyed a lot of success together and our expectations match right up with those of Stewart-Haas Racing."
RCR named Harvick as the replacement for Dale Earnhardt when the seven-time NASCAR champion was killed in a crash during the 2001 Daytona 500.
In 448 starts with the team, Harvick has collected 21 victories, 96 top fives and 198 top 10s. He has also qualified for the Chase six times. On the year he has two wins and currently sits fourth in the standings entering this weekend's race at New Hampshire.
RCR has yet to announce who will fill Harvick's seat in the No. 29 car, but Richard Childress has expressed interest in signing Ryan Newman, who currently drives for SHR.
Newman is a free agent at the end of the year and it is expected that he will leave SHR due to a lack of sponsorship and an unwillingness to expand to four cars by the team. The organization currently fields full-time entries for Stewart and Danica Patrick in addition to Newman.
"I can't thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR enough for everything they've done for my career," Harvick said. "I was just trying to make a name for myself in the Truck Series and Richard believed in me enough to make me a part of his race team back in 1999. Without him, and without the hard work of so many people at RCR, I wouldn't be where I am today."