Kevin Harvick made headlines in the last week for his comments on NASCAR and its lack of transparency on the crash test results for the Next Gen car, scheduled to debut in 2022. Now there’s speculation swirling whether or not Harvick will even be driving the car next season.
According to the latest scuttlebutt, there’s a possibility Harvick buys another racing team and transitions over to a full-time team owner. And those rumors also indicate he already has a team in his sights.
Kevin Harvick calls out NASCAR
Last week rumors started picking up steam regarding potential safety issues with the NASCAR Next Gen car. According to multiple outlets, the car performed poorly in crash tests, resulting in test dummies suffering “fatal” injuries.
On Sunday, before the Cup Series race at Atlanta, Kevin Harvick addressed the drivers’ concerns and called out NASCAR in the process.
“As we sat in the drivers’ meeting that NASCAR had with us to show us everything, I think that the most frustrating part of the whole process is the fact that the safety piece to the drivers and the conversation with the drivers, which was asked for by the drivers, was had at the very end of everything,” Harvick said. “And as you look at that, I think the guys driving the cars are owed at least the respect enough to at least be a part of the process of what’s going on. Everybody is just a little bit frustrated with how all that’s been handled.”
Harvick said he was impressed with NASCAR’s presentation and what they had done with the car, but there’s still frustration due to timing:
“When the drivers were a part of the process is why everybody is a little bit frustrated with that. And here we are, supposed to go to Bristol in a month with our car to do a tire test and can’t get chassis. Chassis are held until the crash testing is done.”
Kevin Harvick rumored to buy race team
The NASCAR Silly Season is just that, silly. However, sometimes the rumors that seem the most far-fetched in the beginning turn out to be true in the end.
Despite such a great season last year when he won nine times, Kevin Harvick’s future as a driver has been in question simply because, at age 45, he’s got nothing left to prove after a 21-year career.
The latest rumor has Harvick buying JTG Daugherty Racing and potentially transitioning away from driving over to a full-time owner. While it sounds somewhat outlandish, no one would have ever imagined Chip Ganassi Racing getting purchased by Trackhouse Racing a month ago.
The potential purchase of JTG Daugherty makes the most sense because the team currently fields cars for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Preece. Interestingly, Harvick’s management company represents both drivers.
Raced to a Hall of Fame career
Without question, whenever Kevin Harvick decides to step away from driving, he’s Hall of Fame-bound. Harvick has raced to an impressive career, including 58 wins and the 2014 Cup Series championship.
However, Harvick’s career started on an ominous note in 2001. He was slated to run a full-time Xfinity schedule and a handful of races in the Cup car that year with Richard Childress Racing. Dale Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the Daytona 500 changed those plans.
A week after the tragedy, Harvick strapped into the renumbered No. 29 car at the Dura Lube 400. He finished 14th. Two weeks later, he pulled off the improbable when he earned his first career Cup Series win at Atlanta. It was a precursor of things to come.
Over the next two decades, Harvick has raced to 57 more wins, including the 2007 Daytona 500. In 2014, his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, he won five times and captured his first Cup Series title. Since that season, he’s won an impressive 30 times, including a stellar 2020 campaign in which he found victory lane nine times.
In 2021, Harvick remains winless through the first 21 races of the season. The last time he was without a win this late in the year happened in 2012 when he managed to win in the second-to-last race of the season. His last complete winless season occurred in 2009.
If he goes without a single win this year, it might just be another sign that now is the right time to step away from the car and move into a new role as a team owner.