Kyle Larson, Rick Hendrick, and the Road to the Indianapolis 500
The assignment for the sixth grader in Bakersfield, California, was to write about career goals.
until then , Kevin Harvick I stood.
Harvick, the son of a firefighter, didn’t expect to ride in emergency-screaming trucks. Instead, he detailed how he would race wheel-squeaking cars and make it to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series as a 30-year-old.
Harvick achieved it when he was 25 years old.
more: 10 stellar moments in Kevin Harvick’s career
While his path seemed simple, it was none other than a future NASCAR Hall of Famer, Who announced Thursday that this season – his 23rd in the cup – will be his last.
The 47-year-old has spent nearly half his life racing in NASCAR’s premier series, winning a championship and building a legacy, but nothing compares to his first Cup season.
Scheduled to compete in select Cup races in 2001 while running the full Busch Series schedule for car owner Richard Childress, those plans changed when Dale Earnhardt died in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500.
Childress asked Harvick to drive for Earnhardt’s team.
“This will without a doubt be the hardest thing to happen in my life,” Harvick said before his Cup debut at North Carolina Speedway, a week after Earnhardt’s accident.
This race took place in the midst of what was supposed to be one of the happiest moments of Harvick’s life.
Harvick and his wife, Dilana, were scheduled to wed in Las Vegas two days after the rain-delayed race. They considered putting it off, but Childress told them not to. Tell them that if there was ever a time to be happy, now is the time.
Eleven days later, Harvick, in the white No. 29, defeated Jeff Gordon’s brightly colored car by six thousandths of a second to beat Atlanta in what remains the fifth-closest Cup finish since electronic scoring debuted in 1993.
Harvick appeared on his way to instant stardom, but his trajectory went awry. While many wanted him to be an Earnhardt clone, Harvick sought his own identity. Conflict arose.
Harvick’s propensity led to confrontations with drivers. An altercation with Chad Little in the Darlington garage after a Busch Series race in 2001 resulted in a $10,000 fine and probation.
having smashed before Greg Biffle At a Busch race at Bristol in 2002, Harvick jumped on the boot of Biffle’s car after the race and then lunged at Biffle.
after two races, NASCAR has suspended Harvick for the Martinsville Cup race The day after Coy Gibbs crashes him in a truck race as revenge for an earlier accident. After being ordered to report to a NASCAR transporter after the track incident, Harvick stopped his truck two feet from the back of the transporter and left his truck there.
In 2003 in Richmond, a connection from Ricky Rod sent Harvick into the wall. After the race, Harvick parked his wrecked car next to Rudd on pit road. Harvick yelled at Rudd before walking across the hood of Rudd’s car. When asked what Harvick said to him, Rudd said he didn’t hear because “(Harvick) got that little mouth.”
Harvick has been at the center of other memorable quotes. After good caution timing helped Jimmie Johnson win at Auto Club Speedway in 2010, Harvick said of Johnson’s team: “They have a golden horseshoe stuck up their ass.”
later that season, Joey Loganoupset after Harvick spun him late in a race at Pocono, he told reporters, “Maybe it’s not his fault. His wife wears the fire suit in the family.”
Other times, Harvick shined. He has often done things differently. He signed to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing a year before his contract with Richard Childress Racing expired after the 2013 season. Despite predictions that Harvick would stumble into a lame-duck season, he won four races and finished third in points, tying his best finish in those the point.
He won the Cup title the following season at SHR. Together with crew chief Rodney Childers, they put together a team that only gets better with age. Twenty-nine of Harvick’s 60 Cup victories have come after he turned 40—a time when driver careers often slow rather than speed up.
He still had the fire, as it was evident In his confrontation on pit road with Chase Elliott at Bristol during the 2021 Qualifiers. Elliott was upset with Harvick for a call that slashed Elliott’s tire late. Harvick was upset that Elliott held him back in the closing laps, costing Harvick the win. The feud lasted for two weeks, which led to Harvick hitting Elliott on Charlotte Roval.
Harvick has also shown signs of growth. Become more focused on the trend of sports. He has acted as a mentor to young drivers. With driver concerns increasing over injuries last year, Harvick has spoken out Safety concerns last fall.
Now, he is preparing for his final season as a driver. It’s a long time ago when he was working with his dad under a race car at the age of 3 and helping to “fix” it. This means sticking spark plugs into the cracks only to see those spark plugs bounce off the bottom of the car once you’re on the track.
Then again, Harvick didn’t need those spark plugs. Provides the spark.