Richard Childress considering running 4 Sprint Cup teams in 2014

Jared C. Tilton

The loss of Kevin Harvick and Budweiser won’t deter Richard Childress, who will run three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams in 2014, and is working on sponsorship for a fourth.

Since the news that Kevin Harvick and Budweiser would be leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season, there has been question about the viability of the organization.

But Richard Childress expects no drop-off in performance and is planning on fielding a minimum of three Sprint Cup teams next season with the possibility of a fourth if funding can be found.

"Right now we're finalizing some final things," Childress said during a Monday teleconference. "We have sponsorship on a third and we actually have some sponsorship on a fourth. But having it all finalized and put together, it could be a couple of months down the road before we have everything ready to do some announcing on any of that."

RCR has Jeff Burton and Paul Menard under contract for 2014 with sponsorship in place for both.

As for who will occupy Harvick's seat, that has yet to be decided. Names that have been mentioned include Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. Both are free-agents at the end of the year and each has been linked to a potential ride at RCR.

But speculation centers on Childress naming his grandson, Austin Dillon, as Harvick's successor.

Dillon is in his second full season in the Nationwide Series where he is currently third in points. He is also running a limited slate of Cup races this year in preparation for his eventual full-time move to Cup. One of those races is this weekend's event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Austin's younger brother, Ty Dillon, is currently in his second season in the Camping World Truck Series. He too seems earmarked for an eventual Cup ride with his grandfather's team, though he is still a few years away.

"What makes me as proud of Austin and Ty both is they're good young men," Childress said. "They understand the value of this sport. They understand how important the fans are. They understand how important the whole sponsorship is, how important NASCAR is.

"Both of them are talented young men, and I hope they go far in the sport."

Harvick had joined the Cup team in 2001 following Dale Earnhardt's death in the Daytona 500 and recently challenged for the championship, having finished third in 2010 and again in '11. In his time at RCR, Harvick has collected 21 victories including two this season at Richmond and Charlotte. He has also made the Chase for three consecutive seasons, six overall, and currently is ranked fourth in points.

"We did a lot together over the years," Childress said. "It was a business decision on his behalf to want to move on. Hopefully we'll all look back at the career we had together and say it was all a lot of great times.

"We had some tough times, but we also have had some great times. Hopefully that's the way life carries on."

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