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Kevin Harvick Ahead Of Final Daytona 500: 'If We Have To Settle Scores, We Will Settle Them Immediately'
Kevin Harvick, NASCAR’s notorious firebrand, is entering his final Cup Series season.
It may be Kevin Harvick's final season as a NASCAR driver, but that doesn't mean he's going to get too sentimental out on the track.
With the Daytona 500 set to officially kick off the NASCAR 2023 Cup Series season Sunday, the veteran wheelman is already putting his infamously spicy, competitive spirit on display. Harvick, who won the Daytona 500 in 2007, shared some advice he received from another celebrated driver from his generation, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“Dale Jr. summed it up for me by saying it was my NFG tour,” Harvick revealed to NASCAR.com. “If we have to settle scores, we will settle them immediately. We aren’t waiting until next week.”
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Harvick, whose career has spanned 22 years, became an early fan favorite when he took over for Dale Earnhardt – The Intimidator – at Richard Childress Racing after the NASCAR legend died tragically from injuries sustained at the 2001 Daytona 500. Never one to mince words, Harvick cultivated a bold reputation over the course of his three decades-spanning career as not only one of the most supremely talented drivers on the Cup Series circuit, but also one of its most brash and outspoken competitors. His on-track ferocity is known to spill over into fisticuffs or intense verbal spats after races, but while this has made him, at times, a somewhat polarizing figure, it’s also helped him garner the ironclad respect from many of his peers. Well aware of his feisty nature, Harvick himself noted that enjoying the sentimental side of his farewell season will be difficult because he doesn’t know “how good [he’ll] be at soaking it in because [he] can get too competitive.”
“For me, it is going to be a balance between taking all of that in and not being grumpy because you are in the competitive mindset,” detailed Harvick. “I explain that to people all the time. There is a difference between a meet-and-greet at the car or one away from the racetrack. They are two different people.”
“We have put a lot of things in place to just try to make it simple,” Harvick continued. “As simple as possible. But I also understand that it is important. I feel like your last year is important.”
While Harvick’s quick to talk about letting it all hang out this season and settling scores, make no mistake about it, as a walking piece of NASCAR history, he knows his final year on the track will be full of priceless moments as he takes fans and pundits alike on a wild ride down memory lane. The vet plans to embrace the past and his place in the league’s history by having uniquely designed helmets that will tell years of racing stories. Additionally, he and his team at Stewart-Haas Racing are collaborating on special paint schemes for his No. 4 Ford Mustang.
Out of 43 Cup Series starts at Daytona, Harvick’s notched 16 top-10 finishes to go along with 11 top-five finishes and a win at the 2007 Daytona 500. Fans who are already dreading the veteran leaving the NASCAR Cup Series can rest assured, knowing that they’ll see plenty more of Harvick on the television as he’s already locked into a FOX Sports broadcasting position to call races alongside Mike Joy and former driver Clint Boyer.
Can't get enough NASCAR action? Catch up on “Race For The Championship,” on Peacock.
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