In a revealing interview with NBCSN’s Marty Snider, Kevin Harvick provided a rare window into his tumultuous early seasons in Cup.
Harvick, who is vying for his fourth consecutive victory Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, endured his share of controversies after being thrust into Cup the week after Dale Earnhardt was killed on the final lap of the Daytona 500.
He would win his third start in the No. 29 Chevrolet, but he still wrestled with the weight of racing in NASCAR’s premier series for Richard Childress Racing.
“It was very strange the way I was brought into the light of the racing world,” Harvick said during A Driver’s Drive feature on Thursday’s NASCAR America. “When Dale (Earnhardt) died, you step into this car, and these people want you to be like him.
“Well, I rebelled. I wanted nothing to do with being like him. There were some struggles throughout the year at RCR. In order to keep yourself relevant, you had to find a headline. In order to find a headline you had to do something that wasn’t right, like jump over a car, or say something you shouldn’t. So you were constantly creating moments you felt were keeping you in the headlines.”
The Bakersfield, California, native said he eventually realized that racing wasn’t a job but the realization of a dream that began as a 5-year-old racing go-karts in a dirt field. The son of a fireman and a secretary worked on his race cars inside a tiny shop with a tin exterior, rats in the sewer drain and a restaurant next door that precluded painting bodies until 1 a.m.
Harvick said what he loves most about competition is “to beat somebody, and they don’t think you should have beat them, and they don’t know how. There’s no bigger thrill than beating the guy you’re not supposed to beat or winning a race you’re not supposed to win.”
Watch the video by clicking above.
LOUDON, N.H. – Denny Hamlin had the fastest lap in Saturday morning’s Cup practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, leading the field with a lap of 132.942 mph.
He was followed by Ryan Blaney (132.526 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (132.462), Kyle Busch (132.406) and Kevin Harvick (132.356).
Harvick ran the most laps at 50. Harvick told NASCAR on NBC broadcaster Rick Allen in the garage that he ran so many laps to see how much the speed falls off as the tires wear. Jimmie Johnson was next with 42 laps run.
There were no incidents in the 50-minute session.
Ryan Blaney had the best 10-lap average at 131.767 mph.
Click here for the speed chart.
LOUDON, N.H. – The start time for Sunday’s Cup race has been moved up to 1 p.m. ET because of the threat of rain, NASCAR announced.
NBCSN will broadcast the race. NBCSN’s coverage begins at noon ET.
The wunderground.com forecast for 1 p.m. ET Sunday calls for a 49 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms. There is a threat of rain throughout the day.
Kurt Busch won the pole for Sunday’s race.
LOUDON, N.H. – Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne each will miss 15 minutes of Saturday’s final practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for inspection issues, NASCAR announced.
Hamlin is being penalized for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice last weekend at Kentucky. Kahne is being penalized for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice Friday at New Hampshire.
Final practice is scheduled to go from 12:35 – 1:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Today’s schedule at New Hampshire Motor Speedway includes two Cup practice sessions and the Xfinity Series race at the “Magic Mile.”
Here’s the full schedule with TV and radio info.
(All times are Eastern)
Saturday, July 21
7 a.m. — Xfinity garage opens
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. — Cup garage open
10:05 – 10:55 a.m. — Cup practice (CNBC)
11:05 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying; multi-vehicle/three rounds (CNBC)
12:35 – 1:25 p.m. — Final Cup practice (NBCSN)
1:30 p.m. — Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting
3:30 p.m. — Xfinity driver introductions
4 p.m. — Lakes Region 200 Xfinity race; 200 laps/211.6 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)