Kevin Harvick Named to NASCAR '75 Greatest Drivers' List

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Harvick Named to NASCAR '75 Greatest Drivers' ListJames Gilbert - Getty Images

In 1998, during its 50th anniversary season, NASCAR unveiled what it considered its 50 greatest drivers. The list included most of the stars from the organization’s earliest years, many of whom eventually would find their way into the NASCAR Hall of Fame when it opened in 2010.

Beginning April 9, the sanctioning body will add 25 names to its “all-time” list as part of its 75th anniversary celebration. It is expected to name five drivers per week—most likely one per weekday—in the five weeks ending with the May 14th Goodyear 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

The newest group among the sport’s greatest drivers is being selected by a committee comprised of former drivers, team owners, industry personnel, NASCAR executives, and current and former media members. All 75—the original 50 class named 25 years ago and the new 25—will be recognized during Goodyear 400 pre-race ceremonies.


As NASCAR celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998, company president Bill France called that group “the men who define the competition of our sport.” He added, “Their accomplishments are the benchmark that much of our history is identified by. Honoring them in this way, at the beginning of the NASCAR 50th anniversary celebration, is one way of showing our true appreciation for them and the invaluable contribution they have given over the past 50 years. These are the drivers who made and make NASCAR fans stand on their feet and cheer. These are the drivers who are NASCAR history.”

The original “50 Greatest Drivers” were from the Modified, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series. The Craftsman Truck Series was too young to have had any “greatest drivers,” but that’s expected to change with this new group.

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Kevin Harvick was on top of the NASCAR world following his 2014 championship.Patrick Smith - Getty Images

Today’s Addition: Kevin Harvick

It’s only a matter of time before Kevin Harvick slips on the dark blue blazer marking his induction into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame. Until that time—certainly soon after he retires following this season—the man once called “Happy” will have to settle for being known as one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers.

The do-it-all Californian was announced today as the 72nd driver recognized during this, NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season. He’s the seventh active, full-schedule driver on the “Greatest 75” list, joining Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Martin Truex Jr. All 75 or their representatives will be recognized during ceremonies at this weekend’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Harvick’s credentials for the Hall of Fame and the 75 Greatest list can’t be denied. His Cup Series record over 802 starts shows 31 poles, 60 race victories, 248 top-5 finishes, 435 top-10 finishes, 17 top-10 points seasons, and at least one victory in 18 seasons, including 11 consecutive seasons between 2010-2020. He won the 2014 Cup championship driving No. 4 Chevrolets for Stewart-Haas Racing.

He reached Cup after several successful seasons in the Craftsman Truck and Xfinity series. He won 14 Truck races during parts of the 1995-2021 seasons and 47 Xfinity races during parts of the 2000-2021 seasons. He’s among a handful of drivers—with Bobby Labonte, Kyle Busch, Truex Jr., Elliott, and Keselowski—to win both Cup (2014) and Xfinity (2001 and 2006) championships. He’s also among the 42 drivers with victories in all three of NASCAR’s top series.

He’s won most of Cup’s most significant races: the 2007 Daytona 500; the 2003, 2019 and 2020 Brickyard 400s; the 2020 Southern 500; and the 2011 and 2013 Coca-Cola World 600s. He’s had great success at specific tracks: nine victories at Phoenix, six at Michigan, four each at Loudon and Richmond, and three each at Atlanta, Bristol, Fort Worth, and Dover.

Many NASCAR-watchers feel Harvick’s spring, 2001 victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway helped NASCAR begin to heal after the stunning death of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt several weeks earlier. Team owner Richard Childress picked him to replace Earnhardt, and the rookie won in just his third career Cup start. The car number was changed from 3 to 29 and the paint scheme was no longer silver and black, but fans cheered the relatively unknown kid as if it were Earnhardt himself behind the wheel.

If nothing else, it was a moment worthy of the Hall of Fame and the 75 Greatest Drivers list.