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Shell Leaving RCR, Moving Over To Penske

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, April 21 2010

Kevin Harvick's sponsor is moving over to Penske Racing. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

A major sponsor move announced on Wednesday morning means that one of Roger Penske’s Sprint Cup cars will carry some familiar colors beginning next year. Shell Oil Company and Penske have announced a multi-year cross business alliance with Penske starting with the 2011 racing season.

Shell and Pennzoil will leave Richard Childress Racing and its No. 29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick and move to Penske and driver Kurt Busch, who will drive a No. 22 car. Shell also will be associate sponsors for Penske’s IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. And Shell and Pennzoil will become the preferred supplier of fuels, lubricants and related products to Penske’s non-racing automotive businesses.

Brad Keselowski, now driving the No. 12 Dodge for Penske, will move over to the No. 2 Miller Lite-sponsored car.

Pennzoil has been a big part of Penske’s racing history. The company backed Penske’s IndyCar teams in 1983 and won the 1984 and 1988 Indianapolis 500s with driver Rick Mears.

Keselowski appears to be one of the winners in the deal. He said in a statement that he’s ready to take on the No. 2 that has been such a big part of Penske’s NASCAR heritage.

“To follow champions like Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch in the legendary Blue Deuce is a dream come true,” Keselowski said. “The Miller Lite Racing team is accustomed to winning on and off the track, and I can’t wait to do my part to build on that tradition.”

Busch is in the final year of his contract with Penske, but the sponsor move seems to assure that he will stay in the Penske camp. Less certain is where Harvick, in the last year of his contract with RCR, will wind up next year.

Childress issued a statement saying he’s planning to give his sponsors their money’s worth for the remainder of the year.

“I’m disappointed that our partnership will conclude at the end of the year but understand some of the reasons that went into their business decision,” Childress said. “RCR will continue to provide Shell-Pennzoil the highest caliber program possible, keeping in sharp focus the ultimate goal of winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.”

And he pointed out his belief in the old saying that when one door closes, another one opens.

“What this creates for RCR is the opportunity for a new partner to forge its own relationship and identity with Kevin Harvick and the championship-level team led by crew chief Gil Martin, our other race teams and drivers, and our other 35 partners,” he said. “The No. 29 team has had only two primary sponsors since it began in 2001 but the number 3 has played a significant role at RCR for decades. We feel strongly that the third chapter of the No. 29 team’s partnership history will be a successful one.”

– Rick Minter can be reached at rminter@racintoday.com

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, April 21 2010
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