Harvick unexpectedly made his debut in the sports highest series following the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt Sr., when RCR owner Richard Childress tapped him to as the replacement in the No. 3 Chevrolet, which was rebranded as the No. 29.
He scored his first victory weeks later in Atlanta, after a side-by-side, last-lap battle with Jeff Gordon to score his first series victory:
The rest, as they say, is history, and he’s had a Hall of Fame-worthy career, including wins in the “crown-jewel” races of the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500, in addition to being the 2014 Cup Series champion.
He also had two Xfinity Series championships and 47 wins at that level. Harvick has won on over 22 different tracks, and has 60 career wins under his belt as of this past 2022 season.
He’s also been very outspoken about some of the issues in the sport, especially recently with the debut of the Next Gen car and some of the safety issues that have surrounded it.
According to Motorsport.com, he’s expected to join the FOX crew in 2024 as an analyst, alongside lap-by-lap announcer Mike Joy and former NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer. Though there is yet to be an official announcement on that, he’s been open about his desires to do TV after his racing career, so I’m sure that’s likely coming soon, too.
In a post on Instagram, the 47-year-old driver shared some of his thoughts on his two-decade career, saying what an unbelievable ride its been since he first started in the Cup Series at the age of 25:
“All I’ve ever wanted to do is race. It started when I was five, and unbelievably, by the time I was 25, I was in the NASCAR Cup Series. I called NASCAR’s premiere series my home for the last 22 years. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve done a lot, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m always ready for a new season.
It presents new challenges, and it forces you to find new ways to outsmart and outrun the competition. But come November, when the checkered flag drops on the season finale in Phoenix, it will also be my final race as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. It’s time to call time.
To enjoy all that we’ve achieved as a race team, and to savor with the ones who have made this journey possible. The unbelievable became the believable, thanks to the help and support of so many. A new chapter is calling, one where being a dad, and a husband, takes precedence over being a driver. But that chapter is still a year away.
There’s still more to be written not on paper, but on asphalt, and who knows, maybe even on dirt. The hunger to compete it still there. Here’s to the final season being the best season.”
While he’s certainly had an extremely impressive and accomplished career, with two young kids at home, Keelan and Piper, it makes sense why he wants to take a step back and spend more time with his family.
And like he said, he still has one more full season ahead of him, so we’ll see if he can close it out with a storybook ending and one more NASCAR championship.