Harvick to drive at least 12 NNS races in 2014 for JR Motorsports

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An interesting piece of news this morning from the NASCAR Nationwide Series side of things: Kevin Harvick will be suiting up for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports for at least 12 NNS events next season.

The 2014 NNS schedule for Harvick – who currently sits third in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – has yet to be finalized. But what is known is that four of his runs with JRM will feature primary sponsorship from one of his more familiar backers, Hunt Brothers Pizza.

The pizza company will serve as primary sponsor for Harvick at Bristol, Charlotte and both races at Texas, and will receive associate placement in the other races.

Harvick will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet, which is being planned to feature other drivers at various points during next season. The final driver roster for the No. 5 car is to be determined, but in the meantime, Dale Jr. is happy to have a two-time Nationwide Series champion in his JRM stable.

“This is pretty cool to have Kevin a part of our team,” he said in a statement. “I’ve known him for a long time. He’s an incredible racer. He will be a huge asset to JR Motorsports, our sponsors and our fans. I’m grateful that he wants to drive our cars, and I’m grateful that Hunt Brothers Pizza is committed to Kevin and our race program. We’re happy to have them.”

Harvick has won 40 races in his NNS career, making him third all-time on the series’ wins list.

The welcome wagon on Twitter is already out for Harvick, as JR Motorsports regular Regan Smith has chimed in this morning:

Additionally, Kevin’s wife, DeLana, is looking forward to her husband’s upcoming work with JRM:

Hartley says debut F1 point would be ‘a dream’ from last on grid

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Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.

Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.

“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.

“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”

The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.

“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.

“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.