Richard Childress predicts tough year

LAS VEGAS -- Team owner Richard Childress said next year in the Sprint Cup Series won't be easy with driver Kevin Harvick moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.

"Oh, yeah," Childress said Thursday during the unveiling of the 2013 Chevrolet SS that will replace the Impala in the Cup Series. "People are not going to be buying a lot of (No.) 29 souvenirs for sure. It'll make a difficult year. It's there. We've got to live with it and move forward.

"Again, the timing wasn't great on the leak. But we're going to go race."

ESPN's Marty Smith, citing sources, wrote three weeks ago that Harvick would leave RCR for SHR after his current contract expires in 2013. Neither Childress nor Harvick had publicly admitted the move would occur until Childress did so Thursday.

Childress did not confirm whether sponsors Budweiser and Jimmie Johns would follow Harvick to SHR, but said he was good for sponsorship on the 29 beyond next season.

Harvick remains coy about his future. Regardless, he expects to give his best for RCR next season, referring to Matt Kenseth as an example of how an awkward situation can become a positive.

Word leaked in June that Kenseth would leave Roush Fenway Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. Kenseth, the points leader at the time, maintained the lead for the next three weeks, won two Chase races and finished seventh in the final standings.

Harvick won at Phoenix two days after it was reported he would be a lame-duck driver in 2013.

"This is not the first situation that has popped up like this current situation," Harvick said. "As competitors, you want to go out and win races and you want to be respected in how you handle situations.

"That's really the main goal, to be competitive and be respectful of the situation. Hopefully, however it ends, you wind up respected in how you handle the situations."