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Kevin Harvick made his voice heard multiple times last year. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver showed his veteran leadership, regularly expressing concerns about safety issues with the Next Gen car and calling out NASCAR for its slow response to the situation.

Three races into the 2023 season, Harvick’s final in the Cup Series, and the future Hall of Famer is back at it. Before this weekend’s race at Phoenix, the 47-year-old voiced his displeasure with NASCAR multiple times for a change he hopes doesn’t come into play during his last year and was playfully warned how his words and lack of political correctness might land him in hot water.

Kevin Harvick vocal about safety concerns with Next Gen car

Kevin Harvick made headlines in 2022 for his skill on the track, winning back-to-back at Michigan and Richmond, and his voice, for being outspoken throughout the year on safety concerns with the Next Gen car. 

The sanctioning body heard him. NASCAR President Steve Phelps admitted as much in an interview with The Athletic this offseason.  

“It was probably Kevin Harvick,” Phelps said when asked what driver provided the best feedback. “Kevin gave me his opinion about where the broader driver core is. That was really helpful to hear for me. He’s taken on a more active role and kind of a mentor role, which I think is needed.”

Harvick admits he’s not a fan of wet weather package

Before this weekend’s race at Phoenix, Harvick sent Phelps and the sanctioning body a clear message on two separate occasions that he was unhappy with the wet weather package being implemented on short tracks in 2023.

The first time happened after Cup practice. 

“Our Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang is manageable. I think that’s going to be the name of the game,” Harvick said. “They still push really bad behind each other but the good news is they slide around so much that you’ve got options up and down the race track. I like that and having to manage the throttle pedal and the brake pedal and where you’re at on the race track, at least that gives you some options. 

“So the lap times slow down and ours hung on pretty good. Looks silly with mud flaps and a windshield wiper on it, but other than that, everything is fine.”

Repeats his message during Xfinity Series broadcast

Harvick wasn’t done. He once again shared his feelings on Saturday while working the Xfinity Series broadcast when Fox’s Adam Alexander talked about a remark made by a driver during the race, which led to a discussion about the wet weather package and its implementation in 2023. 

“Well, I hope I’m watching the first time all that happens,” Harvick said, referring to his retirement after this season, which drew a big laugh from fellow driver-analyst Joey Logano.

“So you hope it doesn’t happen this year?” the two-time champion joked. 

“Yeah,” Harvick paused. “I don’t really know where else to go with that. I guess his windshield wiper looks good. And his mudflaps flap.”

“Well, you can wean yourself off of the political correctness as we go throughout the year, right,” Alexander suggested. 

“I think so,” Harvick replied. 

“You’ll find out next week in the inspection line,” the Fox announcer responded, which produced a delayed laugh from the Team Penske driver. 

Alexander’s last remark, while funny, likely hit a little too close to home for the SHR driver, after his team was unexpectedly penalized following the fall Talladega race that included a four-race suspension and $100,000 fine to crew chief Rodney Childers. Both Childers and Harvick were quick to respond on social media, hinting that the penalty was a retaliation of sorts. 

Nothing will happen to Harvick after his wet-weather package comments in Phoenix. But, if it does, you can be sure the driver won’t let it happen quietly. 

For the latest breaking news and information about NASCAR’s three national series, check out @kdsportswriter on Twitter.


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