By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports activities NASCAR Author
When phrase started filtering by way of FOX Sports activities that Kevin Harvick Would seem on the Oct. 27 version of “NASCAR Race Hub” to make an announcement, it definitely might have made followers marvel if Harvick was going to make THE announcement.
Harvick said in February 2020 that he signed a two-yr contract extension by way of the 2023 season, however many have questioned if The mannequin new-for-2022 Subsequent Gen automotive, his feud with Chase Elliott and a strong pertypeance Inside The tv gross sales space all by way of Xfinity Collection races would Finish in his abruptly retiring.
But tright here was no retirement announcement. Instead, it was ancompletely different conagencyation that Harvick –– who turns 46 next month –– is dedicated to ending his contract, as Gearwrench was introduced as a primary sponsor of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Cup automotive for A minimal of The subsequent two seasons.
“I exactly like the rivals,” Harvick tprevious FOX Sports activities. “I exactly like being aspherical my guys. I exactly like being Inside the store and Throughout the people Inside the conferences To purpose To Search out out what’s incorrect, To purpose To Search out out what’s proper and transfer factors aspherical And look at out To maneuver the needle in The biggest course.
“I nonetheless take pleasure in that An factor of it, And also you’d possibly’t get that An factor of it standing Inside the Tv gross sales space Or merely not being Inside the automotive. That rivals And completely different people gadgets of the puzzle and With The power to be Half of That is one factor that I take pleasure in.”
Harvick tends to make selections on contracts early And that is by design. He knew in late 2012 that 2013 Can be his final yr at Richard Childress Racing and that he would transfer to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. Since he made The selection in 2020 that he would race A minimal of by way of 2023, he hasn’t contemplated a change.
“Tright here’s no exact second althoughts, and that’s why we do it so early, so I can wrap my arms aspherical That is what I’m doing,” he said.
“And if that’s what I’m doing, I’m not going to do it half-ass. … I do know wright here my head is at, and that makes me dig in.”
So far as Dealing with the Subsequent Gen automotive, Harvick said That when he look ated it final month on the Charlotte road course, a lot of the nervousness went amethod.
“I nonetheless Want to decide The biggest Method To make the most of In all probcapability the most throttle and drive the factor as quick as I can by way of the corners. … [But] it doesn’t drive that a lot in A particular method than what I presently drive,” Harvick said.
“Tright here are some factors That are drastically completely different, however from wright here I sat, it wasn’t exactly that huge a deal.”
Having the sponsorship and funding to have A prime extreme quality program is An monumental deal, and Prior to now few months, Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing have introduced two new sponsors. Submethod, which had been out of The sport after most recently being with Joe Gibbs Racing, and Gearwrench, which was with Chip Ganassi Racing till its sale to Trackhouse went into influence this week, are huge obtains for Harvick and The sport in primarytaining these fashions involved.
Mixed with longtime companions Hunt Brcompletely differents Pizza, Mobil 1 and Busch, Harvick is Aware of he shouldn’t lack for assets.
“We’re going to be in good type for The subsequent couple of yrs, And clearly Gearwrench is Sort of a pure match for our sport Simply as a Outcome of of how a lot the devices are used,” he said.
Harvick, whose KHI agency generates sponsorship for not simply him But in addition completely different drivers and athletes that he represents, Is usually involved in sponsorship discussions.
“Anytime We will primarytain sponsorship in our sport, it’s good for The sport, and …. [these provides] say Tons about our group and our race group and everyfactor that we do,” he said.
The race group didn’t have The biggest yr in 2021, as Harvick was eradicated from the playoffs after the second spherical. But he accomplished fifth Inside the standings, and although he didn’t have a victory in a yr By which 16 drivers gained races, he ranked eighth in prime-5s and third in prime-10s.
“Clearly, pertypeance-sensible, from a velocity standlevel, We now haven’t been wright here we needed to be this yr, however In The Prolonged time period, Which Could Even be Certainly one of the biggest yr We now have had as A gaggle to make one factor out of the yr,” he said.
“Everytime You are taking A look On The completely different two columns [befacets wins], it appears greater than most columns Inside The sector. That’s An limitless credit rating to the race group and the factors that we’ve been In a place To pertype collectively.”
But tright here’s nonetheless extra To pertype. If anyone questioned Harvick’s drive, how indignant he acquired with Elliott at Bristol and their persevering with feud ended any doubt. And Harvick doesn’t assume anyone aspherical him was shockd by his fury.
Properly, mightbe one particular person: his 9-yr-previous son, Keelan.
“As quickly as I tprevious him that it was madder than I had ever been at somefactor that he’s ever carried out, he Sort of Checked out me with the ‘oh, crap’ face that said, ‘Really?’” Harvick said. “I said, ‘Really.’
“That doesn’t shock me. I exactly feel that want to win and compete and do All of the factors that it takes Is strictly what you noticed tright here, and it’s not any completely different than it has been. You only had these moments that launched it out To level out the world.”
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Considering out loud
NASCAR, IndyCar, Kyle Larson and Hendrick Motorsports Have to discover a method for Larson to do the Indianapolis 500. And shortly.
Sure, the Coke 600 at Charlotte is A critical race, and it has An further stage, and working the Indy 500 earlier than It’d definitely influence Larson’s capability To rearrange. But Larson is The Most very important identify in motorsports proper now, and for him to run the Indianapolis 500 — Not to mention each The 5 hundred and the 600 in Finally — Can benematch all facets.
Larson would get the adulation he deserves for the breadth of his racing expertise. Tright here Can be further Confacetr each races. And Hendrick, who likes to promote automotives, probably would obtain some followers on the IndyCar facet. Chevrolet competes in each series and would Even be celebrated for making it happen.
This isn’t one factor They need To primarytain pushing down The road yr after yr. If Larson tries it now, he might make a quantity of begins Inside the Indy 500 wright hereas in his 30s.
Subsequent Up: Subsequent Gen
Cup groups head to the Charlotte oval next week for a two-day look at starting Wednesday. Teams will get about 18 hours of complete monitor time across The two days. Organizations with one or two groups can area one automotive On the look at; organizations with three or 4 groups can area two automotives.
NASCAR proceeds to work on two primary factors: warmth generated and steering factors.
“We Have acquiredten some solves for that thOn the drivers, I confacetr, are exactly feeling extra glad with,” NASCAR prefacetnt Steve Phelps said.
“Until it comes out and we’re truly On the L.A. Coliseum [for the Conflict], we’re On The 5 hundred, with race automotives on the racemonitor, I am going to proceed to be involved. But I might say … [our] group, working with our groups, working with our [producer] companions, have carried out an unimaginable job getting us So far.”
(get your memes right here)
They said it
“Everyone had some problems, for constructive.” — Kyle Larson on the championship celebration
Bob Pockrass has spent many yrs overlaying motorsports, collectively with the previous 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports activities in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting Information, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Seashore) Information-Journal. Adjust to him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for extra NASCAR content material? JoInside the FOX Sports activities NASCAR Informationletter with Bob Pockrass!
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