Why Winning Isn't Everything for Kevin Harvick in Final NASCAR Cup Season
Kevin Harvick says that he’s trying to tell his career story in one season so he can “re-educate half of a fan base” that didn’t exist when he began his career.
Harvick, who won the 2014 NASCAR Cup championship, is retiring after this season.
His next career move will be into the broadcast booth in 2024.
For three decades, Kevin Harvick has focused on promoting himself as a NASCAR champion who can consistently be a title contender, but now in his final full-time season he has discovered he needs to rebrand himself.
Currently third in the NASCAR Cup Series standings three races into the season, Harvick finds himself faced with a balancing act.
“We have to keep doing the things that we’re doing so that the competition side stays where it’s at, but also try to tell a story for 30 years,” Harvick said. “It’s somewhat of a transition.”
Harvick says that he’s trying to tell his career story in one season so he can “re-educate half of a fan base” that didn’t exist when he began his career. He wants them to understand him and his background so when he says something as an analyst on Fox Sports’ NASCAR telecasts next year “everybody feels good about what you’re telling them” and it “has some merit behind it.”
“There’s definitely some rebranding that’s taking the place of what we do currently into transitioning what we do going forward,” Harvick said. “There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into that as you transition into a brand without driving and companies and restructuring of the management company and sponsorships and things that we represent. Trying to position yourself well with the drivers and things for next year for them to understand that you’re gonna … be a much bigger part of what’s going on, on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis because you’re not going to be competing against them.”
The 47-year-old Harvick said he was extremely busy and noted “there’s a method to what we’re doing and trying to transition into next year.” He has been involved in everything surrounding his retirement year on a week-to-week basis, including helmets and paint schemes on his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
“The only way to do it right is for me to be pretty heavily involved,” Harvick said.
That includes being involved with Kevin Harvick Inc., SHR and everything in between.
“I think the beginning of the year was a lot of work leading up to Daytona and through Daytona, really up through California just because of everything that we’ve had going on,” Harvick said. “Now it will start to get into a routine, but I look at it as a plan that we’ve laid out and we’re executing it. We’ve changed some things on the fly. I think we’ll continue down the path that we’re going.”
That path leads Harvick to Phoenix this weekend where he has secured nine victories, including six in eight races and four straight, and 19 top-five finishes in 40 events.