Kevin Harvick to run in K&N West race at Sonoma Raceway

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After a weekend where Kyle Larson said NASCAR should encourage its Cup stars to race in a lower series to reconnect with fans, Kevin Harvick announced he’s doing just that later this year.

Harvick will compete in the June 24 K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma Raceway, the day before the Cup Series event at the California road course. He will drive the No. 4 for Jefferson Pitts Racing.

Harvick, who hasn’t competed in a K&N race since 2007 at Iowa Speedway, announced the news Tuesday night on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show “Happy Hours.”

While drivers like Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon have competed in the race in recent years to gain experience on the road course, Harvick is doing it just for the heck of it. He will make the start 19 years after he won a K&N race at what was then called Sears Point Raceway.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do more of and Sonoma was the first opportunity to go out and really just have fun, get some more laps and go to a race track that I’ve been racing at since the mid 90s,” Harvick said. “Honestly, I got tired of sitting around for two days because we go in on Saturday and usually all we do is qualify. Then you’re like, ‘All right, what am I going to do for the rest of the day?’ So I sit around and watch this race.

“I told (wife) DeLana, ‘I’m just going to race this race this year, just because I’m tired of sitting around and watching it. Because there’s a lot of competitors and friends that still run in the K&N West series. We’re going to have some fun and see if we can’t win a race.”

Harvick has made 22 K&N starts since 1996 and earned six wins, including his 1998 victory at Sonoma. He also made four Sonoma starts in NASCAR’s Southwest Series, earning a win in 2003.

“Many of the young kids are running, so we’re going to be the old guy that shows up,” Harvick said. “I have fun when I go do those events. You love to win and you want to go out and do that and be competitive. But really, it’s a series that gave me several breaks and several opportunities to showcase what I did as a kid. If we can go out there and have fun and bring the West series some exposure and be able to bring some attention, that would really be my main goal.”

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has made 16 starts on the road course in the Cup series, but it’s one of four active tracks he hasn’t won at. He has an average finish of 14.6 with four top fives.