Childress: Harvick deal finalized soon

DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Richard Childress expects to have Sprint Cup points leader Kevin Harvick signed to a new deal by the Coca-Cola 600 at the end of the month.

"Yeah, we're pretty far down the road," the owner of Richard Childress Racing said of negotiations before Friday's Cup practice at Darlington Raceway. "We've still got to get a few things finalized, but we're looking forward to getting everything done by Charlotte or before Charlotte."

Asked after his qualifying lap about Childress saying they were close to a deal, Harvick said: "I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about Darlington."

Harvick almost lost control of his car in qualifying and was not happy with his two laps.

"It [expletive] sucks to be honest with you," he said.

Sponsorship is among the details to be finalized with Childress.

"I feel real good about where we're at," Childress said.

Shell/Pennzoil announced last month it would leave Harvick after this season and move to the No. 22 car of Kurt Busch at Penske Racing in 2011.

Asked if Budweiser or Mobile I, big-name sponsors whose current deals are up, might be on the list, Childress said, "There are sponsors that are not even in the sport that are interested."

Harvick began his Cup career at RCR in 2001, replacing Dale Earnhardt after he was killed on the final lap of the Daytona 500. Harvick has 12 career wins, his most recent two weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway.

But there was a time last season when it appeared Harvick would not return to RCR. He reportedly wanted out of his contract to sign with Stewart-Haas Racing and through much of the season declined to talk about his status with Childress.

"There was a time when we didn't know if we would be back together," Childress admitted. "Then we got some things worked out and we feel good about it."

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