DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 15: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light #BUSCHRACETEAM Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Former Cup champion Kevin Harvick will retire after this season, he announced Thursday morning.

“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,” said Harvick in a statement. “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, father of 10-year-old Keelan and 5-year-old Piper, is looking forward to spending additional time with his children and wife DeLana.

“In the last year, I think I’ve seen Keelan race three times while he’s been in Europe,” said Harvick, who is in the final year of his contract at Stewart-Haas Racing. “I go to the go-kart track with Piper and she makes twice as many strides in a day while I’m there than she would in a day when I’m not there. It takes a lot of time to organize the level of racing they’re doing, and to be around that is important to me.”

Harvick, 47, enters his 23rd and final season in Cup having won the 2014 series championship and 60 races, which ties him with Kyle Busch for ninth on the all-time list. Harvick also is a two-time Xfinity Series champion.

He has won at least one Cup race in 18 seasons. Twenty-nine of Harvick’s 60 career Cup victories have come since turning 40 years old.

Among his victories are the 2007 Daytona 500, two Coca-Cola 600s, two Southern 500s and three Brickyard 400s on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

“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,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a statement.

“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 made his Xfinity debut in 1999, running one race for Richard Childress Racing. He ran the entire season in 2000. He was scheduled to run the entire Xfinity season in 2001 and select Cup races that year before Dale Earnhardt died on the last lap of the Daytona 500.

Car owner Richard Childress tapped Harvick to drive for Earnhardt’s team the rest of the season, piloting a white No. 29 car instead of the black No. 3 Earnhardt made famous. Harvick scored an emotional win at Atlanta in his third career Cup start. He drove for RCR through 2013. He has been at Stewart-Haas Racing since 2014.

“I know you don’t like to hear these things,” Tony Stewart said in a video tribute to Harvick, “but you’re the flagship at SHR. Single-handedly, without a doubt, the greatest racer we ever had.”



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