KHI, RCR merging Nationwide efforts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kevin Harvick Inc. and Richard Childress Racing will combine their Nationwide Series effort beginning in 2011, the teams announced Thursday.

RCR no longer will field its own Nationwide teams, but its Sprint Cup drivers will be available to KHI's No. 33 Chevrolet. Team co-owner Kevin Harvick currently drives the No. 33 in the Nationwide series.

RCR will provide chassis, engine and technical support. KHI will continue to use Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines in its Nationwide and Camping World Truck series programs, running two full-time programs in each.

A driver lineup has not been set for the newly-combined program, but KHI has been in talks with Elliott Sadler to run at least part of the schedule in one car.

"This alliance will help both of our race teams," said Harvick, who drives the No. 29 Sprint Cup car for Childress' team. "Richard and I have discussed this opportunity for a while and we thought, at this point, both programs would really benefit from this new structure since the Nationwide Series new cars will be so similar to our Sprint Cup cars."

RCR will switch its focus beyond the Sprint Cup Series to the Truck Series program with Austin Dillon and a second team to be named later.

"Kevin and I are excited about the partnership between RCR and KHI next year," Childress said, calling the arrangement "a positive step for both companies."

KHI will continue to run two Truck Series teams.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.