Kevin Harvick wasn’t sure if people would be offended by his Atlanta win celebration in 2001
In 2001, NASCAR lost Dale Earnhardt. In his place, rookie Kevin Harvick filled the seat of the 2.9 car. It wasn’t quite the #3 car but close…
The black was replaced with white. But, in just the 2nd race as the new driver, Kevin Harvick went to victory lane.
Last week, Austin Dillon put the #3 back in victory lane on the 20th anneversary of Earnhardt Sr’s only Daytona 500 win. Dillon celebrated by doing the exact same burnout through the grass that Sr did.
This week, it’s another Dale Earnhardt Sr tribute. Back to back Earnhardt tributes kick off the 2018 NASCAR racing season.
“I’ve waited 17 years to get ready to do what I’m getting ready to do,” Kevin Harvick said over the radio after picking up the win yesterday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
From there, the celebrations began. It was a direct copy of what Harvick did in 2001. Harvick held 3 finger out the window to pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Sunday, Harvick a mirrored his own celebration from 2001. With 3 fingers hanging out the window, Harvick drove backwards all the way around the track.
“It means a lot to me. It’s funny how ironic all these things line up,” Kevin Harvick says from the Atlanta Motor Speedway media center.
“It’s kind of ironic how we ended up in victory lane that day. Dale’s team won the first two races and we were able to win the next race in 2001.”
“You see that #3 back in victory lane and us back in victory lane tonight. It’s just how it’s meant to be.”
“For me, to be able to do that celebration again — Very similar to what we did in 2001. I’ve been waiting a long time.”
2001 win / 2018 win
“2001 was very confusing. It was my first win and don’t feel like I really remember anything about it. It was just such a confusing time in my life and on the race track. With Dale gone and getting in his car.”
“I raced so much in 2001 that you didn’t really see the repercussions of everything that had happened until 2002. Then, we were terrible in 2002.”
2001 was a very confusing time to be a NASCAR fan. When Harvick won in 2001, he was unsure how to celebrate the win. At that time, Harvick was unsure of his own reception of the Earnhardt fans. Thus, he was also unsure how to celebrate his first win. He stuck his hand out the window, holding up 3 fingers and went with that.
“It was fun to pay tribute and smile about what was going on in the night. And not knowing if you should actually stick you hand out the window — If somebody was going to be offended. or somebody was going to be mad. And whether it was the right thing or wrong thing to do. There was just a lot of confusing things.”
“It felt good to pay tribute to that and park it in victory lane with a smile on my face,” happy Harvick concluded.