Kevin Harvick: “The diversity from young to old is something that we haven’t had in a long time.”
Harvick put on a clinic and created a new term. He led 181 laps of the 325 scheduled and introduced ‘Harvicking’, a verb.
In fact, most the veterans arose to the surface in Atlanta. The top 5 featured a youngest age of 34. Beyond that, 6th-8th had the likes of Logano and the Busch brothers.
I heard a new side to Kevin Harvick in the Atlanta Media Center. He discussed the mix in veterans and rookies in the sport today. It’s been a common theme since December.
Does this win send a message to the rookies?
“We need to introduce new people and new stars in our sport,” Kevin Harvick states from the media center after winning Atlanta. “I don’t have a message, other than, our sport is great.”
“I love racing cars. And we have to have great competitors to [give] the diverse fan base people to root for. Some people like calm, shy: Ryan Blaney. Or Chase Elliott who’s been around racing and has those deep ties to NASCAR and the Southern roots of our sport.”
“Those guys are all important. When everybody realizes how important the young guys are to the old guys and the tweeners have to do the same. There’s no two young guys that are going to make it. There’s no two old guys that are going to make it. This is all about everybody.”
“You have to have somebody to race. I can remember Jim Hunter sitting in his motorhome, he’d blow cigarette smoke on me and then ask me if I wanted another hot dog. He’d say, ‘Son, you gotta have somebody to pass.’ ”
“Every week, it’s somebody different. You have to have somebody to pass. And if you don’t have anybody to pass, you can’t call it a race.”
“We’re in a great spot in our sport. Tonight, there was a lot of experience. Next week, they’ll be a lot of young guys in the mix. With a race track that’s calmer with things that you don’t have to have in your memory bank.”
Atlanta is worn to the core. It’s not been 20 years since the repave. Beyond, the worn out pavement, the track wasn’t built with the fancy new machinery they have today. From the beginning, the track wasn’t flush. The apron didn’t mess with the racing surface and the yellow line was jagged.
“We have these young guys that are fired up and can drive the car fast. Guys that have ties to great family heritage in our sport. And we have guys that you’ve never heard of.”
“The diversity from young to old is something that we haven’t had in a long time. We’re going to corral everybody to make share they realize that we all need each other in order to make this sport what we all want it to be.”
What advice would veteran NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick tell rookie Kevin Harvick?
“Sometimes, you just need to keep your mouth shut. Man, I said and did a lot of dumb things. It was entertaining at the time. It got me a couple vacations. ” Harvick stated.
“Richard chewed me out a lot. Mike Helton… We need more of Mike Helton in today’s NASCAR. He was the guy that would just look at you and you knew you were in big trouble.”
“You’d leave there [the trailer], like, ‘oh my god. I may never race again.’ ”
New vs. old, has been a theme in recent months. Back in January, Kyle Busch called out the NASCAR marketing department for the aggressive push of young talent in their campaigns.
But, Harvick is here to set everyone straight…
What keeps Harvick motivated?
“Jimmie Johnson and myself have talked about it. Somebody has to explain to them how things work and show them the ropes. That to me is fun.”
“But, we need to get back to where everybody can go drink a beer together and have a good time. It just kinda feels like everybody has kinda forgotten exactly how much fun this is. And how lucky we are to walk in this garage on a weekly basis or sit in that car on a weekly basis and drive race cars around in circles.”
“For me, I’ve just got a much better appreciation for how cool it is to sit in that race car. It’s not all sponsors, business and politics. It’s fun. Everything we did to get to this point, is fun.”
“I want to make sure everybody hears me talk about how fun this is. You better enjoy it because it might not be here tomorrow.”
Kevin Harvick joked about having traction control after domination on Sunday. He hinted that a big part of that win was simply taking care of the tires in the first few laps of a run.
Related: Tony Stewart on young NASCAR talent