Thanks 4EVER Kevin.

Kevin Harvick's 29 car in the Daytona garage, July 2011.
Credit: Stephanie Stuart-Landrey personal collection

Everyone has a favorite Kevin Harvick moment. Mine is an interview he did at Darlington on a Saturday night when "The Lady in Black," was being especially moody. After he was knocked out of the race by an ill-fated Goodyear tire (as many were that night), a reporter asked Harvick what he thought NASCAR should do about the spectacle happening in front of our eyes. Not mincing words, Harvick looked straight at the camera and said, "throw the checkers and get the hell out of here."

Whether he was leaping over Greg Biffle's car, criticizing NASCAR, accusing a certain driver of having a "Golden Horseshoe," shoved in an unnamed body part, or a number of any other public disputes, it seemed that everyone in the garage always knew exactly where they stood with Kevin. His truth-be-told personality and talent behind the wheel drew legions of fans to him. 

He let his driving speak for itself, almost always managing to be near the front at the end of the race. "The Closer," as he was nicknamed always let you know that he should never be too far off your radar. He won the Daytona 500 in 2007 by literal inches as he held off a charging Mark Martin on the last lap. He won NASCAR's biggest prize in 2014, when son Keelan was just two-years-old. 
Afterwards, cameras would catch him and his young son sitting alongside the wall on the track, seemingly taking it all in. That's one of those moments you remenber forever. 

That's Kevin Harvick in a nutshell. He says what you're often thinking, without reservation. He raced hard, no matter what. He poured life back into a team that was at its lowest point after Dale Earnhardt Sr. died. He inspired countless fans around the world, and became his own children's hero, showing a softer side of "Happy Harvick." 

Kevin Harvick pulling in to Victory Lane-2010 Bud Shootout
Credit: Stephanie Stuart-Landrey personal collection

Off the track he and wife DeLana ran a successful truck team until they made the decision to close up shop in 2011. His namesake foundation exists to support programs that enrich the lives of kids, funds college scholarships, and replaces worn-out athletic equipment, among other things. He's a devoted Dad to Keelan and Piper, and a friend to many. 

Some may say that they disliked Kevin because of his personality, but that's one of the main reasons many were drawn to him. He put his money where his mouth was, and showed you his talent and drive. He made sure people knew if he was unhappy with them. He was seemingly never satisfied unless he was the best. 

That's the Kevin Harvick I'll miss-those off-the-cuff comments and those "where in the hell did he come from?" Sundays. The sport is better for having Kevin in it. 

"It's really not about what you have. It's about how you're able to enjoy life in general," he once said in an interview. Go enjoy it, Kevin. You've earned it. 

Thanks 4EVER Kevin.  Thanks 4EVER Kevin. Reviewed by Stephanie Stuart-Landrey on Monday, December 04, 2023 Rating: 5