Minutes after holding off a determined charge by Ryan Blaney during overtime in the Cup race at Texas, Kevin Harvick stopped on the front stretch to retrieve the checkered flag.
Looking through the gate, he noticed a kid “getting shoved around in the scrum up there in the grandstands,” Harvick said in the media center following the race. “He had his phone hanging out. I had the security guard grab him, I picked him up over the fence.”
The boy in question was a 14-year-old named Joel.
Harvick carried him to the front of his car, took a selfie with the boy’s phone and returned him to his parents. He also awarded Joel with the checkered flag as a souvenir.
“I think the impact you have on people you sometimes forget in all the things you do,” Harvick said. “I like kids. I’m not necessarily thrilled about all the adults cramming their stuff in there over the top of a kid’s head. I like to go out of my way to try to talk to the kids.”
Earlier in the day, Harvick was spotted signing autographs for another group of kids.
“It’s like the group of kids that you’re talking about, the first kid I signed an autograph for, it was, ‘Yes, sir, no, sir.’ I told him, ‘If you do anything in life, just try to have manners.’ Most people, especially around here, that aren’t the kids, don’t have manners. That to me is something, if you can help the parents reinforce something that they’re doing at home. The mom patted him on the back and said, ‘See, I told you those manners would pay off for you.’ ”
NASCAR America’s Krista Voda spoke with Joel’s mom on Monday and “she said when Joel got back to the grandstands, his eyes were huge. He spent the hour ride home looking at all the pictures on his phone.”
For more, watch the video above.