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:

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.