The information that all-time nice driver Kevin Harvick will retire after the 2023 NASCAR Cup Collection season turned official on Thursday morning — and the NASCAR world had loads to say about it.
Followers and colleagues and NASCAR officers talked about his begin: The 47-year-old Bakersfield, California, native was solely 25 when he was thrust into the nationwide highlight after being requested to run in Dale Earnhardt’s stead after the NASCAR legend was tragically killed within the 2001 Daytona 500.
They talked about his wins: Harvick has notched 60 profession Cup Collection wins — which is tied for ninth all-time — and has a 2014 Cup Collection championship and a Daytona 500 win to his title.
They talked concerning the mark he’d go away off the observe, too — the ferocity he confirmed standing as much as different veteran drivers within the storage when he was a younger driver, and the fearlessness he confirmed when standing as much as the sanctioning physique as he stepped right into a extra veteran function.
They talked about loads. As a result of when a determine of such sustenance in a sport pronounces he’s saying goodbye, there’s loads to speak about.
“I’ve seen loads, and I’ve performed loads, and I’m grateful for the chance,” Harvick stated in a video on Thursday morning. “I’m all the time prepared for a brand new season. It presents new challenges, and it forces you to search out new methods to outsmart and outrun the competitors. However come November, when the checkered flag drops on the season finale in Phoenix, it can even be my last race as a NASCAR Cup Collection driver.
“It’s time to name time, to get pleasure from all that we’ve achieved as a race staff, and to savor it with those who’ve made this journey attainable. The unbelievable turned the plausible because of the assistance and help of so many.”
Here’s what others within the NASCAR world are saying of Harvick’s retirement information.
Tony Stewart is a longtime peer of Harvick on the Cup circuit who later satisfied Harvick to affix his Stewart-Haas Racing staff when he turned a co-owner.
“I competed in opposition to Kevin for a very long time and I used to be so pleased to lastly have him part of our race staff,” Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Cup Collection champion, stated in a press launch. “He’s extremely dependable – constant and calculated on the observe with a drive to all the time be higher. That’s what you need in a teammate. He is aware of what he must be profitable, and his will to win helped elevate our complete firm.”
He added: “I would like Kevin to savor each lap this season, to compete like hell and to take all of it in. He’s made all of us at Stewart-Haas Racing extremely proud and we wish to make his final season his finest season.”
He additionally shared ideas in a video on Twitter: “Kevin, I bear in mind my first impression of you — simply one other punk-racer with a fiery repute. And rattling, I’ve by no means been happier to be incorrect.
“Like myself, I feel you’re usually misunderstood. You’ve performed issues your method and by no means apologized for it. When others misunderstood us, we understood one another. That mutual respect as a competitor grew right into a friendship, and that friendship has let me get to know the person behind the visor — a person that’s constant, calculated, family-oriented and fierce.”
NASCAR president Steve Phelps
NASCAR president Steve Phelps additionally shared an announcement about Harvick’s retirement.
Harvick grew into being one of many sport’s voices of motive, translating a fiery persona on-track right into a fierce protector of the game and its drivers off of it. That was significantly obvious within the 2022 season, when Harvick spoke out in opposition to a number of the security shortcomings of the Subsequent Gen automobile and subsequently emboldened drivers throughout the storage to talk their minds, too, till the drivers and sanctioning physique got here collectively to make a change.
Phelps stated that Harvick’s legacy as one of many all-time nice drivers “is safe.”
“Past his success inside a race automobile, Kevin is a pacesetter who really cares concerning the well being and the way forward for our sport — a ardour that may proceed lengthy after his driving days are full,” Phelps stated in an announcement. “On behalf of the France Household and all of NASCAR, I congratulate Kevin on a outstanding profession and need him the perfect of luck in his last season.”
Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers and the No. 4 driver have shaped fairly the partnership. The 2 made up some of the profitable pairings of the previous decade and have become the instance of consistency within the sport — the 2 completed within the Prime 5 of Cup races 44% of the time.
Childers shared some reminiscences on Twitter on Thursday morning.
“In 2013, I used to be kinda misplaced at what I needed to do with my life,” Childers stated. “Then KH known as and needed me to begin the 4 staff with him. He regarded me within the eyes and informed me he believed in me and needed to win races and championships with me. He, gave me the prospect of a lifetime.
“In that likelihood our relationship has by no means wavered. It’s been straightforward, daily. We’ve talked daily for 9 years. Our ardour and push to be the perfect has by no means modified. And isn’t going to vary. We nonetheless wish to win each single week that we present up.”
He stated that the 2 turned brothers and finest mates over the previous 20 years working collectively.
“He taught me to be a greater individual, smarter, extra clever,” Harvick stated. “And most of all we discovered what good individuals with the identical objectives can do in the event that they actually need it. Our staff is our spine, they usually have believed from day one. So, I’m grateful for him giving me an opportunity. Believing in me and the fellows on this staff. And the diehard KH followers which have had my again through good occasions and dangerous, thanks. This yr goes to be enjoyable, and we’re going to race like hell.”
Others react to Harvick’s retirement
This story was initially printed January 12, 2023 10:28 AM.