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Kevin Harvick says goodbye to full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing in Phoenix

Kevin Harvick says goodbye to full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing in Phoenix

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Kevin Harvick thought the emotions of his final weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series as a driver were over by the time he started racing until a question came up about his children.

In the fast laps before the start of Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway, son Kellan and daughter Piper came on Harvick’s team radio. The two were given headphones to wish their father well and congratulate him on a Hall of Fame career.

“Well, that’s not normal,” Harvick said. “I know they probably liked it, so…”

At that point, Harvick began to feel choked up, so he gave a thumbs-up and then turned around to be with his family, his team and others gathered in his car.

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Harvick finished seventh In his final race in the Cup Series. It was the last competitive showing for the veteran, who led 23 laps and earned his 21st consecutive top-10 finish at Phoenix (dating back to 2013).

“It’s kind of a relief to be honest with you, there’s a lot going on leading up to the race and this week,” Harvick said. “It was great to drive some laps there in the last race. I’m proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing, everyone who worked on this car and has worked on this car for a long time.

“I just have to thank all the fans, NASCAR, my family, everyone for all the support. It’s been a great ride, and I can’t complain.”

Harvick couldn’t help but laugh and say he “thought” the crowd there on Sunday reacted well when he took the lead. The car became very tight as the sun set and he was not in contention for the win in the final stage. It’s been a winless season for Harvick, only the fifth tie of his career.

“The fans have been great, just wishing us well [and] “To do our best on the racetrack,” he said. “It’s been an up and down year, but we made some good progress, and we were at least competitive. We weren’t riding behind. “That’s the main thing, just doing everything we can do.”

A 23-year career ends with 60 victories, including all four Crown Jewel events. Harvick won the Indianapolis Raceway in 2003, 2019 and 2020, the Daytona 500 in 2007, the Coca-Cola 600 in 2011, and the Southern 500 in 2014 and 2020.

He won the Cup Series championship in 2014.

“This whole year has been great with the fans, the garage and everyone [with] “All the support,” Harvick said. “We wanted to tell the story of 30 years, and I think we did a pretty good job of that.”

Harvick took over an hour to leave pit road after the race. Tyler Reddick and teammates Ryan Brees and Chase Briscoe were among those who came to spend time with him. Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, also made his way into what could only be described as a pit full of people surrounding the No. 1 position. 4 cars

At the pre-race drivers’ meeting, Harvick received a standing ovation. There was also a group photo taken before everyone dispersed for the last time before this season.

“It wasn’t really about wins or losses, but you never want to flounder,” Harvick said of his season. “Being able to lead laps in the last race kind of tells you how competitive we are and I think with a few tweaks and tweaks to some things at Stewart-Haas, you can get right back out there and be where you need to be with everything we have going on.” Josh [Berry] He will do a great job. I can’t wait to see Josh drive this car.

“Bush (Beer) is still in this sport. Navigation is still in this sport. He gave everyone the time to do what they wanted to do and evaluate it, and that’s what I really wanted. I wanted to leave here and be able to look at all of you guys, look at Fans, walking into the TV booth, walking into any trailer in the garage, whether it’s a driver, crew chief, Nascar, whatever. And to be able to finish on good terms and I think we did that.”

Harvick will be in the Fox Sports booth starting in 2024, and he’ll begin that chapter of his life this week.

“I actually have calls next week with people from Fox and start working at the end of the year on what we want to do there,” Harvick said. “But I still think the responsibility is just as great to go out there and try to give the fans as much information as possible and do a good job for Fox and everyone in this sport to tell the best story possible. We have a lot of great drivers, a lot of great characters, and I hope everyone can From seeing that.”