Kevin Harvick BiographyIn 1980, as a reward for successfully completing kindergarten with highest honors (summa cum laude), Kevin Harwick was given a go-kart by his parents. Soon after, on the local tracks of Bakersfield, California, his racing career was launched. From the onset, his talents, dedication and determination were obvious. In ten years of driving on the go-cart circuit, he captured seven National and two Grand National Championships. While still in high school, he moved up to the NASCAR's AutoZone Elite Division Southwest Series and competed part-time for two years. Then, in 1995, he ran a full schedule and earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors. While studying architecture in junior college, Harvick made a momentous decision. "Racing is something I've wanted to do my whole life," says Harvick. "In 1997, when I was attending Bakersfield Junior College, the time came for me to make a choice about my future: I either had to focus on racing full-time, or decide on a new profession and begin training for it. I chose racing, and I've never looked back."
"I race hard and I race as hard as I can around everybody." ~ Kevin Harvick
That year Harvick moved up to NASCAR's Grand National Division West Series and in 1998 with one year's experience under his belt became the series champion. His progression through the ranks continued as he raced in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series in 1999 and moved up to the Busch Series in 2000. Racing for Richard Childress, he won three times that season and thereby set the stage for the monumental events of 2001.
"Dale Earnhardt probably was the best race driver in NASCAR history. Nobody will ever replace him." ~ Kevin Harvick
Along with his Busch Series schedule, Kevin was slated to enter the Nextel Cup circuit in 2001 with up to seven races behind the wheel of the AOL sponsored number 30 car. The tragic crash of Dale Earnhardt on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 which took the beloved driver's life caused Childress Racing to amend those plans. Rumors abounded and speculation was rampant concerning who would replace Earnhardt. Ultimately, in a surprise move, Childress chose Harvick. In spite of the pressures, Harvick had an amazing season scoring two wins (Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 at the Atlanta Speedway, Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland), 6 top 5s and 16 top tens. Driving full time on the Busch and Cup circuits, Kevin became the first driver to win both the Busch Series championship and Cup rookie of the year honors in the same season. Though he hadn't competed at Daytona, he nevertheless finished ninth in the standings.
"People are always going to talk about me, good or bad. I can't let that effect the way I drive a race car. I drive as hard as I can every weekend, and that will never change." ~ Kevin Harvick
2001 saw another milestone in Kevin's life. On February 28, in Las Vegas, he married DeLana Linville, a woman he often describes as his best friend. DeLana also comes from a racing background. Her father, John Linville, was a short-track driver in North Carolina. He also raced in the NASCAR Busch Series.
"I don't even know how to put this into words, to tell the honest-to-God truth. It took an extra lap to get the emotional part out of the way, then pulling into Victory Lane and seeing all these guys who put their arms around me and supported me through probably one of the hardest times of their lives--and the hardest situation of my life--was very special." ~ Kevin Harvick about his first victory at Atlanta
Despite his third Cup victory at Chicagoland Speedway, 2002 was a disappointing season for Harvick and is probably best remembered for a post-race incident with Greg Biffle at Bristol than for his driving achievements. He bounced back in 2003 with 1 win, 5 top fives and 8 top tens, thus improving his position in the point standings by 16 places, from 21st to 5th. He may have challenged for the championship were it not for a series of late season wrecks.
In 2001, Kevin and DeLana launched their own racing operation, KHI, Kevin Harvick Inc. Having seen their venture grow into a full-fledged operation, their cars have run in both the Busch series and the Craftman Truck series. After a successful 2004, Kevin hired fellow Californian Ron Hornaday to drive the #6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado for 2005. Hornaday rewarded KHI with a victory over Bobby Labonte at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 18, 2005. 2005 also saw the debut of Burney Lamar. He won two Winston West Series events for KHI and will drive full-time in the Busch Series in 2006.
"On any given day, I don't think there's anybody who can out drive me. That's the mind set I have going into every race." ~ Kevin Harvick
Kevin had a forgettable 2004 though he was voted the 3rd most popular driver finishing behind Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon. On April 3, 2005, Harvick captured his fifth Nextel Cup victory by winning the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He also scored two poles in 2005, at Talladega and Richmond.
Harvick started the 2006 season with a 14th place finish at the Daytona 500. It was a good showing considering the obstacles the team encountered, including a faulty carburetor which required replacing at the halfway mark.
Kevin finished 2006 with 5 victories, 15 top-fives, 20 top-tens and one pole. In contention to the end for the Cup, Kevin put together another solid season.
The 2007 season couldn't have started off better. Kevin caught and passed veteran Mark Martin on the last lap to capture the Daytona 500.
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