Kevin Harvick Sets Official Date for NASCAR Retirement

Kevin Harvick

Getty Kevin Harvick (left) has announced he will retire after the 2023 season.

Kevin Harvick has made an important announcement. The 2014 Cup Series champion has set the date for when he will retire from full-time NASCAR competition.

Stewart-Haas Racing and Harvick issued a press release on January 12 and confirmed that 2023 will be his final season in the No. 4 Ford Mustang. He will kick off his final season with the Daytona 500 on February 19 and then he will walk away after the season finale at Phoenix Raceway on November 5 so that he can spend more time with his family.

“There is absolutely nothing else in the world that I enjoy doing more than going to the racetrack, and I’m genuinely looking forward to this season,” Harvick said in his press release. “But as I’ve gone through the years, I knew there would come a day where I had to make a decision. When would it be time to step away from the car?

“I’ve sought out people and picked their brains. When I asked them when they knew it was the right time, they said it’ll just happen, and you’ll realize that’s the right moment. You’ll make a plan and decide when it’s your last year.

“It’s definitely been hard to understand when that right moment is because we’ve been so fortunate to run well. But sometimes there are just other things going on that become more important and, for me, that time has come.”

Harvick’s Cup Series Career Began Suddenly

Kevin Harvick

GettyKevin Harvick celebrates a championship in 2014.

Harvick’s rise to the Cup Series ranks did not play out as those before him; instead, it began with a tragedy. Dale Earnhardt died in 2001 after a crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500.

Richard Childress chose Harvick to drive his Cup Series entry, albeit with a change. The No. 3 became the No. 29 for the second race of the 2001 season, as well as the remainder of the schedule.

Harvick showed that he was ready for the Cup Series during his rookie year as he scored two wins and finished ninth in the championship standings. He also captured Rookie of the Year.

Harvick has not missed a start since February 25, 2001. He has remained a full-time driver in the Cup Series while spending time with both Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. He has also won two Xfinity Series championships while pulling double duty.

The Closer’s time in the top series of NASCAR features 60 trips to Victory Lane, nearly 16,000 laps led, and the 2014 championship. He is in a tie with Kyle Busch for the most wins among active drivers, and he is ninth on the all-time wins list.

“With championships across several NASCAR series and a NASCAR Cup Series win total that ranks in the top 10, Kevin Harvick’s legacy as one of the all-time great drivers is secure,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps.

“Beyond his success inside a race car, Kevin is a leader who truly cares about the health and the future of our sport — a passion that will continue long after his driving days are complete.

“On behalf of the France Family and all of NASCAR, I congratulate Kevin on a remarkable career and wish him the best of luck in his final season.”

Harvick Has More Things To Accomplish

Kevin Harvick

GettyKevin Harvick walks with daughter Piper at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

As Harvick showed in 2022 with two wins and a trip to the playoffs, he is still competitive and capable of contending for a championship. This will undoubtedly remain his goal during his final season, but he will also accomplish many other things.

Harvick enters his final season in NASCAR with 790 Cup Series starts. He will hit 800 when the green flag drops for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, and he will join an exclusive list that only includes nine other drivers. Harvick will pass two of them — Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip — during his final season.

Additionally, Harvick sits at 15,901 laps led in his career. If he leads 99 more in 2023, he will become the 11th driver to hit 16,000. This will be a very achievable goal considering his consistency in the Cup Series.


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