When it comes to a retirement tour in any form of sports, most athletes are focused on soaking in the moment and to enjoy the final few events of their career.
That's not how Kevin Harvick is looking at things.
“It really doesn't matter to me. I think for me, we've been so set on how this year was going to go. We started planning in November, and I've had my arm trapped around what this whole year was. I think for me, even if it's a regular season race or playoffs, it really doesn't matter for me as far as how I approach it or what I feel.”
Harvick, who is still very competitive in his final year racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, sits 11th in the NASCAR Playoffs, +7 points from the cut line entering the Round of 16 cutoff race at Bristol, after an 11th place finish at Kansas Speedway this past Sunday.
“The feeling is that every week is another piece of closure as to what we're heading towards wrapping up as far as my driving career. I think a lot of that just comes with the planning of everything that we have. So there's really no new emotions for me going from one racetrack to the other.”
As most know, Harvick entered the sport under unusual circumstances at Rockingham in 2001, replacing the late Dale Earnhardt after his death just one week prior. Harvick piloted the No. 29 for Richard Childress Racing until 2014, where he joined Stewart Haas Racing in the No. 4, where he won his only championship so far that same year. Since 2001, Harvick has had his fair share of up and down moments, but has had a major part of where NASCAR is today.
“It's been a lot of fun just to be able to hear the fans tell stories and the different moments of the racetracks and be able to to celebrate all those moments and things that have happened through the years.”
Stewart Haas teammate Aric Almirola was originally going to hang up the helmet at the end of last year, but announced at Daytona in August ‘22 that he would be back at SHR for at least one more season in the No. 10. Naturally, some wondered if Harvick would do the same, but Harvick assures that he is content.
“For me, I'm very content with the decisions that have been made in the path that is going forward. It is so far into play that this whole process seems like old news to me, just because of the fact that it's been happening for so long throughout the year.
“It’s not that I'm not going to enjoy the last eight weeks, or people or sponsors or whatever it is, but that's just how I am. We make a plan; We lay things out; and we organize it. Obviously we could always do some things better, but it's been just a well executed plan.”
Even though Harvick is focused on the Playoffs and not embellishing his retirement season, he still appreciates everyone who’s helped him throughout his career.
"It's been a lot of fun to have the fans, friends, the people/sponsors, and all the things that have been a part of everything done weekend and week out. It has been pretty cool to see it all executed. So, for me, it's a plan. There are a lot of things that go into it, but it's not a new emotion for me going to Bristol next week. There's just not gonna be anything new that pops up for me, because I'm so far into knowing what to expect."