Kevin Harvick, whose Cup debut came a week after Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500, is expected to announce Thursday that this will be his final Cup season racing, The Athletic reported Wednesday night.
The 47-year-old Harvick is entering his 23rd Cup campaign. His contract with Stewart-Haas Racing expires after this season. Harvick said in December that he planned to decide on his future before this year’s Daytona 500.
“We’re at a point where everybody needs to know what’s going on,” Harvick said Dec. 1 before the NASCAR Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. “There’s too many tentacles to everything that happens. Whether it’s the race team, driver management company, every element needs to know. It’s not fair to anybody to have to start the season not knowing.”
Harvick, the 2014 Cup champion, is tied with Kyle Busch for ninth on the all-time Cup wins list with 60 victories. Harvick ranks 10th on the all-time Cup starts list at 790. He also is a two-time Xfinity Series champion. Those are among the accomplishments that will lead him to the NASCAR Hall of Fame when he is eligible.
Once his driving career ends, Harvick will continue to be busy. His 10-year-old son Keelan races and has competed in karting overseas. His management company, Kevin Harvick Inc., represents athletes in racing, golf and UFC. He also is a part of the new ownership group of the CARS Tour with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Justin Marks.
Harvick made his Xfinity debut in 1999, running one race for Richard Childress Racing. He ran the entire season in 2000. He was scheduled to run the entire Xfinity season in 2001 and select Cup races that year before Earnhardt died after crashing on the last lap of the Daytona 500.
Childress tapped Harvick to drive for Earnhardt’s team the rest of the season, piloting a white No. 29 car instead of the black No. 3 Earnhardt made famous. Harvick scored an emotional win at Atlanta in his third career Cup start. He drove for RCR through 2013. He has been at SHR since 2014.
Harvick has won at least one Cup race in 18 seasons. Twenty-nine of his 60 career victories have come since turning 40 years old.