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Kevin Harvick extends contract with Stewart-Haas Racing through 2023

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Harvick says he’s signed with Stewart-Haas Racing through 2023, confirming it to reporters Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

Harvick, 44, has been with Stewart-Haas Racing since 2014. He won a Cup title in his first season with the team. Harvick has scored 26 of his 49 career Cup wins with Stewart-Haas Racing. He has advanced to the championship race in five of the six years of the format.

Harvick’s contract was through 2021 and he was adamant last March that he would continue racing when questions were raised about him going to the Fox Sports booth with Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon.

Harvick is cutting his duties with TV and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio this season to focus on family and racing.

“The TV and radio stuff is definitely something that I’m extremely interested in, but I talked with some of my friends over the offseason just about where I was at with things and everybody told me the same thing, if you’re not done with that competitive side of it, just keep chasing that side,” Harvick told reporters Saturday. “I’ve got everything around me that I need to be competitive so I’m just going to continue doing that.”

Harvick also cited the time with the radio and TV work beyond on-air work.

“There’s a number of things that went into those decisions,” Harvick said. “I think the first and foremost, Wednesdays (for his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show) just don’t work very well for me with (son) Keelan with picking him up from school and going to events. He didn’t really like it. It frees up another day for me. That was a piece of the equation for me. The other piece was in order to do that stuff right, it’s not just the show, it’s the production meetings and the time and you have things coming up from a development standpoint that are going to take a lot of time at the end of the year to get prepared for 2021 from a testing standpoint. For me, I’m intrigued by that and that will keep me in the car for a few more years as we go through 2023 and see where we’re at.

“That timing works well for me from a media standpoint just because of the fact you have the TV contract coming up (in 2024). I think at that particular point you’ll have a fair amount of experience in the new car. You will have hopefully been through the engine change, the vehicle change. There were a number of things that go along with that. I really like racing with the group of guys and the organization that I’m at.”

Brett Frood, president of Stewart-Haas Racing, said in a statement: “Kevin Harvick is a world-class wheelman, leader and steward of the sport. We are very fortunate to have him as an integral part of Stewart-Haas Racing. While we don’t comment on the status of our contracts, we do look forward to working with Kevin and chasing championships into the future.”

 

Nature’s Bakery responds to Stewart-Haas Racing lawsuit; claims team could not ‘control’ Danica Patrick

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Nature’s Bakery states in court documents that Stewart-Haas Racing could not “control” Danica Patrick and “was more interested in cashing Nature’s Bakery checks than in making the sponsorship a success.’’

Nature’s Bakery, which served as the primary sponsor for Patrick’s team in 2016, filed a counterclaim Friday in North Carolina Superior Court for Cabarrus County. That was in response to a $31 million lawsuit SHR filed Feb. 3 after Nature’s Bakery terminated its three-year agreement two years early.

Brett Frood, president of Stewart-Haas Racing, issued a statement Saturday morning in response to claims made by Nature’s Bakery:

”Nature’s Bakery is in material breach of its contract with Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s an unfortunate situation, but we know we’ve delivered on all aspects of our agreement and more. We took great pride in elevating the brand awareness and relevance of its products and were prepared to continue activating pursuant to the agreement in 2017 and beyond. Nature’s Bakery chose to breach and terminate the contract. We’re confident with our position.”

Nature’s Bakery stated it court documents it did not see the return it was led to believe by Stewart-Haas Racing that it would experience.

Nature’s Bakery noted in court documents that it relied on Stewart-Haas Racing for guidance with activating the sponsorship properly because of a limited staff and lack of experience in the sport.

“SHR’s promises were illusory and misleading,’’ Nature’s Bakery stated in court documents. “There was no massive increase in sales. NASCAR viewership was retreating. The team had other significant operational problems. SHR lacked the ability to control Patrick’s performance under the Agreement.

“As a result, the Sponsorship came nowhere close to fulfilling its promises, nor justifying the more than $17 million Nature’s Bakery paid SHR in 2016.’’

Nature’s Bakery sent Stewart-Haas Racing a notice of termination on Jan. 19. The sponsorship, which Nature’s Bakery was to pay $15 million a year, was to have gone through the 2018 season. The company was to have been the primary sponsor on Patrick’s car for 28 races each season.

Among its complaints, Nature’s Bakery claimed that Patrick did not properly promote its product and endorsed a competitive product.

Nature’s Bakery stated in court documents that in “roughly 475” messages she posted on her Instagram account in 2016 that “only 15 or 3% referenced Nature’s Bakery.’’

Nature’s Bakery also stated that in “roughly 600 times to her Twitter account in 2016 … only 13 or 2% referenced Nature’s Bakery.

“Patrick posted more than 530 times to her Facebook account in 2016, but only 18 or 3% referenced Nature’s Bakery.’’

Stewart-Haas Racing stated in its lawsuit that the sponsorship agreement does not contain a requirement for such social media postings.

Stewart-Haas Racing previously stated that Patrick endorsed Six Star Pro Nutrition’s protein powder and that it was not a competing product.

Nature’s Bakery also cited that it wanted Patrick to hold its fig bar while walking around the pit area on race weekends. “That rarely happened,’’ the company stated in court documents. “But race fans and TV audiences saw her frequently with a bottle of Coca-Cola or Coke Zero in her hand, another sponsor of Patrick’s.

“When Nature’s Bakery asked SHR why it could not cause Patrick to showcase its products more frequently, SHR said it had difficulty controlling her conduct. Its failure to manage her performance robbed Nature’s Bakery of the fundamental promise and benefit of the relationship.’’

Patrick stated Feb. 22 that she saw no issues with how she promoted Nature’s Bakery.

“I think that it was a shock to all of us that one year into a three-year deal that there was a problem, but everything that was ever asked of me I did to the very best of my ability,’’ Patrick said.

Stewart-Haas Racing stated in its lawsuit that as a “gesture of good faith” it asked Patrick in December to stop posting on social media regarding items that Nature’s Bakery contended were competitive.

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