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Kevin Harvick recently announced that the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season would be his last. It’s been a remarkable career, spanning 22 seasons, with 60 wins — among them the 2007 Daytona 500 — and the 2014 championship. But it hasn’t been without some conflicts along the way. The spider monkey move and fight with Greg Biffle. The Brad Keselowski push. Most recently, Chase Elliott at Bristol

According to one NASCAR analyst, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver will approach this final season with a different mindset. He won’t be concerned about hurting the feelings of other drivers and will likely drive even more aggressively, occasionally making moves with payback on his mind.  

Kevin Harvick admits to enjoying drama and controversy

Kevin Harvick made the media rounds after announcing his retirement last month. One stop was on the Stacking Pennies podcast with Corey LaJoie. During that lengthy conversation, the future NASCAR Hall of Famer discussed a variety of topics, including his many achievements and numerous run-ins with other drivers. At one point during the discussion while talking about the confrontations, he candidly went into detail about his desire to stay relevant and the chaotic way he went about achieving it.    

“I would tell you this when you’re running bad, sometimes you’ve got to have a show,” Harvick admitted. “And in our sport, you have to keep yourself relevant. When it wasn’t going good, you did it by — you put on a show, and you did it by winning Xfinity or Busch races at the time. Those were the two things. When the Cup car wasn’t running good, you had to keep yourself relevant. So a lot of that was just a show. 

“When we didn’t run good, it was all about chaos. We wanted to cause as much chaos as we could. Richard was all in and it was take no s*** and do everything you can do. And if you weren’t going to win, put on a show. And putting on a show was as relevant as winning the race and in a lot of those cases are talked about more than winning the race. Understanding the publicity side of it and all the things that it took because there were a lot of dry years but you always knew our name.”  

Long history of conflicts

Oh, do fans know his name. Harvick is associated with some of the more dramatic moments in NASCAR history, like the unbelievable WWE wrestling move he made in 2002 at Bristol, when he scaled over a car to jump over reporters and confront Greg Biffle.

A dozen years later at Texas, Harvick made headlines by playing instigator and pushing Brad Keselowski from behind, reigniting a conflict with Jeff Gordon. 

Most recently, Harvick got into a lengthy late-season feud in 2021 with Chase Elliott. After an incident late in the race at Bristol and a heated conversation that started on pit road and carried over into the garage, where both drivers eventually agreed to disagree, the veteran dumped the Hendrick Motorsports car several weeks later at the Charlotte Roval before embarrassingly dumping himself while mirror-watching a few laps later. Merry Offseason. 

Harvick could pay back drivers according to Jamie McMurray

Those are just some of the most memorable moments of Happy being less than happy. There have been plenty of others. Jamie McMurray wasn’t a part of any of them, but the Fox NASCAR analyst recently offered his thoughts on Harvick’s attitude for the 2023 season during an episode of NASCAR Race Hub, hinting that drivers like Elliott and others who’ve found themselves in his crosshairs in the past might keep one eye on the mirror this season. 

“I think Harvick this year you’re going to see two different people,” the 2010 Daytona 500 winner said. “Kevin Harvick, there’s nothing to lose. So I think we could see a more relaxed Kevin Harvick. Someone that doesn’t get bothered by things as easy as we’ve seen in the past. 

“But I think we can also see the Kevin Harvick that says, ‘Screw it. I’m not racing next year, and I’m going to repay you right now. There’s no rules that apply to me.’ I think we might see a little bit of two different tales with Harvick.” 

Interestingly, McMurray’s remarks echo what Dale Earnhardt Jr. suggested in a tweet last month that predicted a more aggressive driver with nothing to lose in his last year. 

“Incredible career for @KevinHarvick,” Earnhardt wrote. “His path to becoming a champion wasn’t an easy one. I always respected his talent and approach through the years. I predict absolutely ZFG in the final year. Imagine he will be fun to watch.” 

Zero Fs given. Pretty bold statement by Junior, which was later confirmed by the SHR Twitter and its one-word reply, “Accurate.”

They say drivers don’t forget. McMurray and Earnhardt know this. Harvick hasn’t forgotten and his fans certainly won’t forget the 2023 season, watching their driver compete for wins in his final year while stirring up some chaos in the process. 


Kevin Harvick Reviews Career, Admits He Enjoyed Creating Chaos, but Regrets ‘Dumb’ Move He Made That Produced One of NASCAR’s Most Chaotic Moments