NASCAR negotiating with Camping World for truck series sponsorship

Updated: September 26, 2008, 2:55 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- NASCAR officials confirmed Friday that Camping World is negotiating to become the new title sponsor of the truck series next season, replacing Craftsman Tools.

But Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick, who owns a truck series and Nationwide series team, said Camping World will continue at the primary sponsor of his No. 33 Chevrolet truck in 2009.

"We have a contract with them through next year, so that won't change," Harvick said. "But they would not be on the Nationwide car. We had them for 14 races, but that would end."

Harvick met with NASCAR officials Friday morning at Kansas Speedway to discuss the sponsorship situation and how it affects Kevin Harvick Inc.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Camping World can continue to sponsor Harvick's truck if the company becomes the title sponsor of the series.

"That's not a problem," Poston said. "And in fact, we would encourage them to do that. We don't want to do anything that would impact team sponsorship. But we want to emphasize there is no deal. Camping World is one of several companies that are very interested in the truck series."

Title sponsors of a NASCAR series have sponsored cars at the same time. Winston sponsored a car driven by Jimmy Spencer during the Winston Cup era.

Harvick said he has no problem with NASCAR negotiating with Camping World. He said Camping World approached NASCAR about the title sponsorship and NASCAR officials kept him informed of the situation.

"This isn't a cherry-picking kind of thing,'' Harvick said. "Camping World has to do what it feels is best for its business model. As a businessman, I understand that. I do the same thing."

Ron Hornaday won the Craftsman Truck Series championship last year in Harvick's truck that is sponsored by Camping World. Hornaday is one point behind series leader Johnny Benson in the 2008 standings.

Camping World, which specializes in equipment and services for recreational vehicles, also sponsors the Camping World Series East and West Series, which are lower-level feeder leagues for developmental drivers.

It's unknown if the company would continue that program it if becomes the title sponsor for the truck series.

Camping World also is the title sponsor for several NASCAR events, including the Camping World RV 400 Sprint Cup race on Sunday.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter