Some top NASCAR drivers will trim 2012 workload to concentrate on Sprint Cup series

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Kevin Harvick decided to focus on his day job. The same for Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski.

Camping World Truck Series driver Kevin Harvick (2) runs in the lead during the early laps of the NASCAR Fast Five 225 Truck Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Friday, Sept. 16, 2011.   Skip Stewart/Associated Press
Skip Stewart/Associated Press
Camping World Truck Series driver Kevin Harvick (2) runs in the lead during the early laps of the NASCAR Fast Five 225 Truck Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Friday, Sept. 16, 2011.

All three will cut their schedules in the future to concentrate on their primary responsibilities – winning a Sprint Cup Series championship.

Harvick folded his Nationwide Series operation into Richard Childress Racing and shut down his Camping World Truck team.

After doing both circuits fulltime for the past seven years, Edwards said he’s going to make selected appearances in the Nationwide Series next year. Keselowski is thinking about cutting back too, especially after qualifying for this year’s Chase for the Championship. He already skipped five Nationwide races this year while recovering from a broken ankle without missing any of his Sprint Cup assignments.

While it’s been easy for all three to win on the junior circuits, all are more aware of their most important responsibilities.

“You don’t have to separate your time as far as where you’re going to be or make decisions on where you’re going to go or what you’re going to do,” Harvick said. “It’s pretty simple: it’s a one-stop-shop. So, there is just going to be more personal time spent, I guess you could say, as we move forward.”

When the Nationwide cars move to Childress, they will be outfitted for Childress’ grandsons, Austin and Ty Dillon, to continue their NASCAR careers. The truck series equipment will be sent over to Eddie Shark Racing.

Some of the 140 people that worked for Kevin Harvick Inc. will move over to RCR, but many will be out of a job.

The challenge to find enough sponsorship to survive in the truck series took too much of Harvick’s time and interest. Now the only thing on his mind is winning another championship for his Sprint Cup team at RCR.

“It’s just tough; it’s a tough model business-wise,” Harvick said of his truck team. “We have scrimped and scraped and got the sponsorship and things that you need. GM (General Motors) has been a great supporter of everything that we’ve done. But from a business standpoint, sometimes you just have to make the decisions as to what you want to do and for us it just didn’t make sense.

“In return, on all of those decisions, still being involved with everything at RCR will allow me to spend more time with my Cup team. That takes an extreme amount of pressure off of me as a driver and an owner.”

Edwards is looking forward to having a few free Saturday afternoons, especially after keeping a hectic schedule for years trying to keep up two fulltime jobs.

“It is the only thing I have ever done so it is very possible that next season when I cut back on the Nationwide Series that we could do much better,” he said. “I could perform better, but I don’t know if that will be the case. Hopefully, I will do better next year, I just don’t know.

“There are weekends when I walk away from the Cup car and get into the Nationwide car, I feel I’m leaving something on the table.”

Kyle Busch hopes to keep the doors open on his truck team next year.

“I do it and I do it because I love it,” Busch said. “Certainly there’s an abundance of headaches, I’ll tell you that man. It’s challenging. It feels like you’re in high school again sometimes with some of the people that you have, but you work through it and do it diligently and as best you can to make it successful.”

Harvick won the car owner’s championship with driver Ron Hornaday Jr. in the truck series in 2007 and 2009. He’s won 39 races as an owner in the truck series and 10 in the Nationwide Series.

The only thing he has to worry about now is driving one of Childress’ Chevrolets in the Cup series.

“It has been a great run,” Harvick said. “It is fun. Don’t get me wrong it is fun to go out and win truck races and be a part of it. We have been able to win championships and I think that’s one of the great things about where we are at with the decision.

“In the end and this is no knock on anything, but really the only thing that I want to do that we have not been able to accomplish in my career is win a Sprint Cup championship. Cup cars make it all go around.

“Without the Cup car being successful on Sunday or Saturday night, whatever the case maybe, trucks don’t exist, Nationwide cars don’t exist and the sponsors aren’t there,” he said.


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