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:

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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