The resumption of the NASCAR season during the midst of this global pandemic has greatly benefited the veterans of this sport. We’re 12 races into the new season and 10 of them have been won by drivers aged 36 or older. Eight of those nine were for drivers that are 39 years of age and older.
With all of this attention the last few years of the next young crop that’s going to come through NASCAR to replace these aging veterans, it’s the veterans themselves showing that they’re not going anywhere any time soon.
Is this a case of no practice or is this a case of veterans still rising to the top?
“The experience level obviously comes into play,” Harvick said last weekend before Indy. “I think when you are surrounded with a good team and a good organization and are able to work those details out, I think the potential is to drive into your 50’s. Why not? I think with the health side of things and the way that people take care of themselves and work out, I think the longevity of the body on most of us going forward is going to be more durable than what it has been in the past.”
Harvick has made the Championship 4 in five of his six years at Stewart-Haas Racing. He calls his tenure there a “second life.”
“I think I kind of had a second life I guess you could say coming to SHR,” continued Harvick. “That was very motivating, and I think as you look at it now, for me it is still very motivating. You work your whole career to get into a situation like this.
“I had a long conversation with Mark Martin. You work your whole career to get in this situation, why would you want to give that up and just say, ‘I quit’? As long as (wife) DeLana and my family are supportive, I don’t think the drive and enthusiasm, as far as showing up to the racetrack every week, will go away anytime soon. You just have to balance those things. I think as you look at Martin (Truex Jr.) turning 40 and Denny (Hamlin) and a lot of the success has been from that particular age group. I don’t think that is going to change any time soon.”
Now with Kentucky up now, none of the races run there have been won by a driver under the age of 30 at the moment. Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch are the only ones to have won at Kentucky in a Cup car.