Kevin Harvick is undoubtedly getting close to the end of his full-time racing days. After all, the man in the No. 4 Ford is about to turn 47 years old and will log his 800th career NASCAR Cup Series start next spring.
But while it’s no surprise that fellow drivers recently praised the Stewart-Haas Racing stalwart in response to a survey question, this was not some sort of career achievement acknowledgment. Rather, Harvick’s peers are touting his biggest accomplishment of 2022, and we’re not talking about going back-to-back at Michigan and Richmond.
Kevin Harvick continues to pad his Hall of Fame credentials
Though he’d undoubtedly like to make one more run at a second NASCAR Cup Series championship, especially after his lowest finish in the season standings since 2009, Kevin Harvick has nothing left to prove to fans, NASCAR insiders, or Hall of Fame voters.
His two late-season victories to lock down a playoff spot brought the 2014 series champion’s career count to 60 wins (along with 47 in the Xfinity Series and 14 in trucks), and the haul includes the 2003 and ’19 Brickyard 400s, 2007 Daytona 500, 2011 and ’13 Coca-Cola 600s, and 2020 Southern 500.
After plunging from nine wins in 2020 to none the following year, this past season reminded us he may have a few more wins in him.
Kevin Harvick’s peers praise him for something bigger than winning
Some voices are louder than others, and it’s not always a matter of decibels. Kevin Harvick has 790 Cup Series starts to his name, plus all those victories. When he speaks on issues within NASCAR, people have to listen.
Harvick did just that beginning this summer, giving interviews and taking to Twitter. His No. 1 topic quickly became driver safety. Fellow veteran driver Kurt Busch suffered a concussion at Pocono that seems inextricably linked to the engineering of the Next Gen car. Alex Bowman missed races later in the year after a similar wreck.
On top of that, Harvick was one of several drivers who had to flee a burning-car mid-race, leading him to add the phrase “crappy-ass parts” to the NASCAR lexicon. People who may have barely cared about racing took note when he started speaking out.
So, when USA Today asked drivers in the paper’s annual NASCAR survey who was having the biggest impact on the sport this season, several pointed to Harvick as well as Denny Hamlin, another strong voice.
“Kevin Harvick has had a big impact, especially in talks with NASCAR about the Next Gen car and just bringing things out in the open,” Martin Truex Jr. said. “And I feel like things are starting to get changed and looked at a lot harder because of him being outspoken.”
Austin Cindric and Brad Keselowski also cited Harvick and Hamlin.
Added 2021 Cup Series champ Kyle Larson: “Probably if I had to pick one over everybody, Harvick just on the safety side. Him and Denny together, them two. They’re moving the needle.”
The veteran driver rated a couple of other mentions, too
Though the serious side of Kevin Harvick has been more important this year because of issues with the Next Gen car, his personality has been showing through, too.
In a USA Today question about social media presence, Ryan Blaney said he took notice of Harvick when he started firing away on Twitter.
“Harvick’s been cracking me up here the last couple months, which has been fun to watch,” Blaney said. “He’ll get all sassy with everybody, and I get a good chuckle out of that. He and (Denny) Hamlin have a really funny Twitter. I love waking up and seeing (Harvick) go on rants the next morning. I love reading all through it.”
Added Austin Cindric: “Kevin Harvick has a pretty dry sense of humor, which I always enjoy. Sometimes it’s at the expense of something or someone else, but it’s Kevin Harvick.”
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