Kevin Harvick will return to the No. 29 during his final NASCAR season
In 2001, NASCAR lost Dale Earnhardt to a crash at Daytona International Speedway. The next week, the No. 3 car became the 2.9 car and Kevin Harvick was thrust into the NASCAR Cup Series scene.
View the Kevin Harvick 29 car below.
“When I sat in the 29 for the first time, it really wasn’t by choice, but I definitely wouldn’t have done it any differently,” Kevin Harvick said.
“Dale’s passing changed our sport forever, and it changed my life forever and the direction it took.”
“Looking back on it now, I realize the importance of getting in the Cup car, and then I wound up winning my first race at Atlanta in the 29 car after Dale’s death. The significance and the importance of keeping that car on the racetrack and winning that race early at Atlanta – knowing now what it meant to the sport, and just that moment in general of being able to carry on – was so important.
On March 11, 2001, Kevin Harvick went to victory lane. He claimed his first career victory via Atlanta Motor Speedway, in just his third NCS start.
“I had a great 13 years at RCR and really learned a lot through the process because of being thrown into Dale’s car, where my first press conference as a Cup Series driver was the biggest press conference I would ever have in my career, where my first moments were my biggest moments.”
Kevin Harvick will retire following the 2023 NASCAR season
No. 29 returns in 2023
“With this being my last year as a Cup Series driver, we wanted to highlight a lot of these moments, and many were made at RCR in that 29 car. So, with the All-Star Race going to North Wilkesboro – a place with a ton of history – we thought it made sense in a year full of milestones and moments to highlight where it all started.”
Kevin Harvick tweeted, “I can’t tell you how incredibly proud I am to drive the 29 one last time!! Thank you RCR and Stewart-Haas Racing for making it all work! More to come next week!”
A line of merchandise was released along with the announcement. And, it all crashed.
“We are excited that you guys are excited for No. 29 merch! But the SHR online store has crashed,” Stewart-Haas Racing stated via social media.
Kevin Harvick opens his retirement tour with a warning to drivers
Kevin Harvick: Letter
“It was a moment we weren’t suppose to be in,” Kevin Harvick opened.
“Forced to step into the spotlight under circumstances, no one expected. We knew we had a lot to prove.”
“We didn’t fully understand the pressure. There wasn’t time to think or analyze. And maybe, that was a blessing in disguise.”
“From the beginning, I made it clear, there’s only one Intimindator and we couldn’t be expected to operate like him.”
“I did make a deal to you and our crew. We were going to take this one race at a time and do the best we could.”
“It didn’t take long to prove what our best was made of. Just three races, into our time together, we cemented our first win, in Atlanta.”
“That single moment gave NASCAR a breath of relief and some belief. Belief this wasn’t just another driver in his race car. It was a number and a name they would remember forever.”
“Over the next 13 years, we would win big races, experience heartbreaking finishes and become consistent contenders.”
“More importantly, we would grow up together. Jumping over a few hoods, throwing a few punches and saying what needed to be said.”
“The lessens I learned in your seat, paved the way for my own legacy. And, helped me find my voice, for myself and other within our sport.”
“As I take my final laps, it’s only fitting we get to race together one more time.”
Harvick concluded, “29, let’s ride.”
Click here to view the merchandise.