DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion, begins his final season of NASCAR competition with this week’s season-opening DAYTONA 500. The 47-year-old California native concedes he is balancing a naturally sentimental reaction to his retirement with his famous highly-competitive spirit.
Asked if he may show less patience racing in his farewell season, the 2007 DAYTONA 500 winner grinned and shared some advice retired driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave him.
“Dale Jr. summed it up for me by saying it was my NFG tour,” Harvick said. “If we have to settle scores, we will settle them immediately. We aren’t waiting until next week.”
That’s good and bad. It sends a message to the garage that Harvick isn’t going to let the situation cool before making payback. That’s because there may not be a next week if he doesn’t. He’ll vow for revenge early and often…if needed.
Of the sentimental side of his farewell, Harvick said, “I don’t know how good I’ll be at soaking it in because I get too competitive.”
Harvick, did remind, however, that he will be sharing stories of his 30 years of racing through his 2023 helmets and various special tribute paint schemes on the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford all season. He’s already got his next “job” settled. Recently, Harvick revealed he would move from the FOX Sports broadcast booth and call races alongside Mike Joy and fellow retired driver Clint Bowyer.
“For me, it is going to be a balance between taking all of that in and not being grumpy because you are in the competitive mindset,” he said. “I explain that to people all the time. There is a difference between a meet-and-greet at the car or one away from the race track. They are two different people. We have put a lot of things in place to just try to make it simple. As simple as possible.
“But I also understand that it is important. I feel like your last year is important.”
In 43 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona, Harvick has 16 top-10 and 11 top-five finishes with wins in the 2007 DAYTONA 500 and 2010 summer 400-miler. He’s finished top five in two of the last Daytona 500s.