Kevin Michael Harvick (born December 8, 1975) is an American NASCAR driver. He drives the #4 Busch Beer/Jimmy John's Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Harvick is the former owner of Kevin Harvick Incorporated, a race team that ran in the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series between 2004 and 2011. He is the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion and is a two-time Xfinity Series champion.
Harvick began racing Go-Karts after his parents Mike and JoNell bought him a Go-Kart as a kindergarten graduation gift in 1980. For the next 10 years, Harvick became a highly successful driver on the Go-Kart circuit. He earned seven national championships and two Grand National championships. In 1992, he started racing late models part-time in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series and he competed there while still in high school. Harvick's father built him his first car to compete in the lower NASCAR Series by using the money he earned to run his own garage, Harvick Motorsports. When Harvick couldn't race, such as in the winter, he competed on his high school wrestling team at North High School in Oildale. He won a section title in his weight class his senior year. He then graduated and became a full-time driver and earned the honor of Rookie of the Year in 1995.
NASCAR career Edit
Early career Edit
Harvick made his Camping World Truck Series (was Craftsman Truck Series) debut in 1995 at Mesa Marin Raceway, in his hometown of Bakersfield, where he started and finished 27th in his family-owned #72. He drove four races in the #72 the next season, his best finish was 11th at Mesa Marin. In 1997, he signed to drive the #75 for Spears Motorsports mid-season, posting two eight-place finishes. He ran a full schedule the next season, posting 3 top-fives and finishing 17th in points. Harvick also moved up to the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series in 1997, and in 1998 Harvick won five races on his way to the Winston West Series championship while driving for spears He received his real first national exposure during the winter of 1997/1998 on ESPN2's coverage of the NASCAR Winter Heat Series at Tucson Raceway Park. In 1999, he drove the #98 Porter Cable Ford for Liberty Racing, finishing 12th in points with six top-fives.
On October 23, 1999, Harvick made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start in the Kmart 200 at the Rockingham Speedway in the #2 Invica Chevrolet. He would start 24th and finish 42nd due to engine failure. The race would be his only start in 1999. In 2000, Harvick would sign with Richard Childress Racing to drive the #2 AC Delco Chevrolet for his first full Nationwide Series season. Despite failing to qualify the second race of the season at Rockingham, Harvick would go on to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year with 3 wins, 8 top-five finishes and 16 top-tens as well as garnering a third place points finish.
For 2001, Childress planned to run Harvick in the #2 Chevy in the Busch Series full-time again, while developing him into the Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series) with up to seven races in the #30 AOL Chevy. He planned to race Harvick for a full schedule in 2002, while. Chidress's plans changed when Dale Earnhardt was killed during the 2001 Daytona 500 and tabbed Harvick as Earnhardt's replacement. For Harvick's first two races the car ran an inverted color scheme, the number changed from 3 to 29, and the pit crew wore generic uniforms. On some of the cars, a small round "3" decal was placed between the 2 and the 9 making it look like "2.9." In the third race of the season, the car was painted white and red, while Harvick wore a white-and-red uniform. His pit crew continued to wear the traditional GM Goodwrench Service Plus uniforms.
On March 11, 2001 at the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500, only three weeks after Earnhardt's death, Harvick won his first career Sprint Cup victory in just his third start by narrowly edging Jeff Gordon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He won the race by only six one-thousandths of a second (.006), proving to be one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history since the introduction of electronic scoring in 1993. After the win, Harvick performed a tire-smoking burnout on the front stretch with three fingers held aloft outside the driver's window/ He recorded his second Cup win of his career at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. At the end of the season, he finished with 2 victories, 6 top-fives, and 16 top-tens. Harvick was awarded with the NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award, and secured a ninth-place finish in the 2001 points standings. He also won the Nationwide Series championship, becoming the first driver to win the Nationwide Series championship while also driving full-time in the Sprint Cup Series with a top-ten finish. Harvick would end the season winning 6 pole positions, and driving in 70 races: 35 Cup Series, The Sprint Race) XVII, 33 Nationwide races, and 1 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (at Richmond International Raceway) for Rick Carelli.
In 2002, Kevin Harvick would spend the season concentrating on running the Cup Series and would only start four races in the Nationwide Series. He would only have 1 top-ten in those four starts. Harvick began the 2002 season with a fine for a post race incident with Greg Biffle at Bristol Motor Speedway. Later, he was suspended for rough driving following a Truck race at Martinsville, Virginia. Harvick scored his first career Sprint Cup pole position; this coming at the Daytona International Speedway. Later in the season, he scored his third Sprint Cup Victory, finishing first at the Chicagoland Speedway. He finished 21st in the 2002 points standings with 1 win, 5 top-fives, and 8 top-tens. Harvick became the 2002 IROC Champion in his first season in the Series, winning at the California Speedway. In Trucks, Harvick began fielding his own #6 truck, driving himself in five races and winning at Phoenix.
In the 2003 season, Harvick teamed with now former crew chief Todd Berrier in the Cup Series, whom he had won the Busch championship with in 2001. Together, they won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis in August. Harvick and his team jumped from 21st in the final 2002 points standings, to fifth in the 2003 standings, coming within 252 points of first place Matt Kenseth. In the Busch Series, Harvick was teamed with Johnny Sauter, driving the #21 Hershey's-sponsored PayDay car. The two would combine for 3 wins, 16 top-fives and 24 top-tens, with Harvick posting all 3 wins. They would give Childress the NASCAR Busch Series owner's championship that season, with the driver's championship going to Brian Vickers. It would be the first time that the championship would be split between two teams. Harvick drove in 19 of the 34 races, and Sauter drove in the other 15. Harvick also scored 8 pole positions and finished 16th in the driver's standings.
While winless in the 2004 season, Harvick placed third in the most popular driver voting. He had fourteen top-ten finishes and finished fourteenth in points.In 2004, Harvick was again paired with another driver in the Busch Series, rookie Clint Bowyer. They combined for 1 win, 13 top-fives and 20 top-tens in the #21 Hershey's-sponsored car, with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups being promoted. Harvick drove the #29 ESGR/Coast Guard Nationwide car in the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford 300, which he would claim his second win of the season. He finished 20th in the driver's standings. The #21 car finished fourth in the owner's standings.
In the 2005 season, Harvick's only Cup win came at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, despite starting towards the rear of the field. He won without the assistance of Crew Chief Todd Berrier, who was serving a four-week suspension for a rules violation. The following year, he continued driving the #29 car for Childress in the Sprint Cup Series. With General Motors' financial situation, GM Goodwrench cut back sponsorship, and was joined as primary sponsor for one-third (1/3) of the schedule by Hershey's, with various brands (primarily Reese's) on the car. In the Busch Series, Harvick was paired with Brandon Miller. Harvick and Miller combined for 3 wins, 15 top-fives and 19 top-tens to give the #21 its second fourth-place finish in the owner's standings. Harvick would also drive the #29 Reese's Chocolate Lovers Cup car to Victory Lane in the first "sweep" of his career on Monday, April 4, 2005 in the Rain-Delayed Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway to go along with the Food City 500 win the day before, to give him a record fourth Nationwide Series win at the track (tying with Morgan Shepherd). Harvick finished 18th in the driver's standings.
In 2006, Harvick decided to run both of NASCAR's top two series full-time. He won his first Nationwide Series race of the 2006 season. He followed the win with a weekend sweep of the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup races at Phoenix International Raceway. Later in the season, Harvick won the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International.
On September 9, 2006, Harvick, only needing to finish 40th or better to clinch a spot in the chase, did better by slipping by Kyle Busch in turn four going into the final lap and holding onto the lead to win the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. This was his third win of the season, and his second "sweep" of the season, having won the Emerson Radio 250 the night before. This allowed Harvick, along with teammate, Jeff Burton, their First berth, and First for Richard Childress Racing, in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. On September 17, 2006, Starting from the Pole, Harvick won the first race of the chase at New Hampshire International Speedway, in the Sylvania 300. He dominated the race and by winning, was able to take the lead in the point standings for the first time in his career.
Harvick would have a substandard Chase run, falling to sixth in the point standings, until finishing third in Texas and following that up with another dominating performance in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12, 2006, winning the race, and moving into 3rd place in the point standings. At the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Harvick would finish fifth in the race and slip to fourth in the final standings to eventual 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. In the Nationwide Series, Harvick would be scheduled to run all 35 races, with three different cars (#21, #33, #29) and two different teams, Richard Childress Racing and his own team, Kevin Harvick Incorporated. Harvick had 9 wins, 23 top-fives and 32 top-tens. He clinched the 2006 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship on October 13, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Dollar General 300. It was the earliest clinch of the championship ever in the Nationwide Series, Locking up the title with four races to go. He ended the season with a record 824-point margin in the final standings.
In 2007, his Cup team again split primary sponsors, with Hershey's being joined by new primary sponsor Royal Dutch Shell and their Pennzoil brand. On Sunday, February 18, 2007 in the season-opening Daytona 500, Harvick claimed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in a restrictor plate race with a dramatic final lap pass over Mark Martin by .020 seconds in a green-white-checkered finish, the closest margin at the 500 since electronic scoring started in 1993. The race was on the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor at Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt. He would become only the fourth NASCAR driver to sweep both the Nationwide and Cup races in the opening weekend at Daytona (along with Bobby Allison (1988), Darrell Waltrip (1989), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004)). Harvick also tied Benny Parsons for the fewest number of laps led by a Daytona 500 winner, who did it in 1975 (the year Harvick was born) with four laps. He started 34th (lowest ever by a winner at the track), and became the first Nationwide Series champion to win the Daytona 500 the following year. With the win, Harvick also became only the sixth driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 joining Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott and Jimmie Johnson. Four days after Harvick won the Daytona 500 in his inaugural race with Shell-Pennzoil as a primary sponsor, Harvick's team owner, Richard Childress, was asked by NASCAR to downsize the Shell logo on his fire suit and to have Harvick wear a more prominent Pennzoil logo, in an effort to play down any perceived competition with Sun Oil. Sunoco asked NASCAR to talk with Richard Childress after Harvick won both the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races wearing a prominent Shell logo on his fire suit. For the rest of the season, Harvick won the Sprint All-Star Race and finished tenth in points.
In 2007, Harvick started the season by winning the Orbitz 300 at Daytona, claiming his first win in a restrictor plate race, as well as the first win for new sponsor AutoZone in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition. He also took the Checkers at New Hampshire International Speedway, winning the Camping World 200 presented by RVs.com. He also won the inaugural NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Harvick would end his partial Nationwide Series season fourth in points.
Harvick went winless in 2008, but he was still able to post a fourth-place in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. The fourth-place finish in the 2008 standings tied 2006 for his highest points position at the end of the season. Harvick also went the entire season without a single DNF for the second straight year. In the Nationwide Series, he ran twenty-two races for his own team with sponsorship from Camping World, Rheem, and RoadLoans. He did not win a race in this series either. His lone win came in a Truck race at Phoenix.
Harvick started the 2009 season by winning the Budweiser Shootout with a last-lap pass on Jamie McMurray, reminiscent of his win in the 2007 Daytona 500. He also launched a new social networking site, Fan Central, for his fans. A few days later Harvick damaged his primary car for the 2009 Daytona 500. The team decided to switch to the car he drove in the shootout. Harvick went on to finish second in the second shortest Daytona 500 in NASCAR history.
- At the Auto Club Speedway in California, Harvick blew his engine and it forced him to not finish the race, which resulted in his first DNF in 82 starts. Harvick won the first Nationwide Series race at Bristol, his first win in his own car. in addition, he won the Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville, Virginia. During the season, Gil Martin became the new crew chief for Harvick as Childress decided to switch all team members of the #07 and #29 except the drivers, thus giving Casey Mears Harvick's crew chief Todd Berrier. In the first five races following the switch, Harvick has finished with an average of 25.4, finishing 34th, 11th, 41st, 17th, and 24th respectively. A short time later, reports started to go around stating that Harvick had asked a release of his contract after the end of the 2009 season to secure a ride at Stewart Haas Racing for the 2010 season with intentions of bringing Shell-Pennzoil with him. When asked about the request, Childress stated that Harvick and Shell-Pennzoil will stay with RCR in 2010. Harvick has not commented publicly on the subject of where he is going drive in 2010. The first race after the story broke, Kevin finished 6th at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Harvick will race for RCR through 2010, but 2011 is uncertain.
American Canadian TourEdit
On July 21, 2008, Harvick won $37,300 at the 35th annual TD Banknorth Oxford 250 presented by New England Dodge Dealers in Oxford, Maine. Harvick defeated tour regulars; Glen Luce and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. The TD Banknorth Oxford 250 is the Short Track Summer Classic in Maine. Since his 1998 West Series championship, he has competed in four races with one win. He also made two starts in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 1999 for Childress in the #20 Invinca-Shields/Realtree Chevrolet, finishing in the top-five both times.
Harvick lives with his wife DeLana in North Carolina, where they have three dogs and two cats.
Harvick has been on talk shows such as Late Show with David Letterman, Live with Regis and Kelly, Jim Rome is Burning, and The Tony Danza Show as a guest. He was also on the first season of FX's NASCAR Drivers: 360. It took an in-depth look at NASCAR drivers outside the track and the preparation it takes to be a NASCAR driver. Harvick has also been on MTV Cribs.
Harvick has the nickname "Happy Harvick", "Mr. Where Did He Come From?", "The Closer" and "Big Bird".
- Kevin Harvick Incorporated - A racing team owned by Kevin Harvick and his wife Delana.
- ↑ JokBio: Kevin Harvick Biography Retrieved on February 19, 2007
- ↑ http://www.nascar.com/2006/news/headlines/cup/10/07/kharvick_sponsor/index.html] [http://jayski.com/schemes/2007/29cup.htm
- ↑ Cross' Words: Daytona Retrieved February 18, 2007
- ↑ Fryer, Jenna (2007-02-19). "Harvick edges Martin for Daytona 500 title". Associated Press. Retrieved on 2007-02-19.
- ↑ Harvick's Shell logos called into question SCENEDAILY (2007-02-22). Retrieved on February 23, 2007.
- ↑ http://www.prweekus.com/Kevin-Harvick-accelerates-his-brand-with-social-network-site/article/127251/
- ↑ RCR statement regarding Kevin Harvick
- ↑ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1649783/