Kevin Harvick confirmed to media members Saturday at Daytona International Speedway he has signed a two-year contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion, said his new deal with SHR lasts through the 2023 season. It was initially slated to end after 2021, but now the 44-year-old has a deal to race in NASCAR’s top series for four more years.
The veteran’s future was subject of much speculation, given his contract status, age and the manner in which he capably joined the FOX broadcast booth for select events as an analyst. Harvick said Saturday that he was dialling back his TV and radio commitments this year, in part to spend more time with his family, but that making a transition to media after 2023 would coincide with the expected arrival of a new TV broadcast contract.
“I’m intrigued by that and for me, that’ll keep me in the car a few more years as we go through 2023 and see where we’re at,” Harvick said. “Really, that timing works well for me from a media standpoint, just because of the fact that you have a TV contract that’s coming up, you’ll know who the players are and I think at that particular point, you’ll have a fair amount of experience in the new car. You’ll hopefully have been through the engine change, the vehicle change. So there were a number of things that go along with that. I really like racing with the group of guys in the organization where I’m at and I worked my whole career and feel like I got here with a group of guys and people that I want to have had success with. For me, going through a few more years in the car just made sense.”
Harvick continues to stay busy with Kevin Harvick Inc., his sports marketing agency, in addition to his full-time role with SHR. But even with the side projects, Harvick said his drive to excel at the sport’s top-level still sustained him.
“KHI’s definitely bigger than I thought it was going to be at this particular point, but the TV and radio stuff is definitely something that I’m extremely interested in,” Harvick said. “But I talked with some of my friends over the offseason just about where I was at with things, and everybody told me the same thing: If you’re not done with that competitive side of it, just keep chasing that side and I’ve got everything around me that I need to be competitive, so I’m just going to continue doing that.”
After a career-long stint with Richard Childress Racing, Harvick signed with the Tony Stewart co-owned team prior to the 2014 season. Paired with crew chief Rodney Childers, he delivered his best-ever season — five wins, more than 2,000 laps led and, most importantly, the series championship — in the first year of the elimination-style playoff format.
Harvick and Childers have posted 26 wins together in the No. 4 Ford over six years, averaging more than four wins per year together. Harvick has qualified for the Championship 4 five times in six years and blossomed into one of the most feared — and respected — drivers in the garage.
With 49 career Cup Series wins, Harvick is set to join just 13 other drivers in NASCAR history with 50 career victories at the sport’s highest level. He ranks second among active drivers in all-time wins, behind only Kyle Busch.
With Jimmie Johnson entering his last year of full-time racing, a Next Gen car slated to debut in 2021 and various other big-name drivers reportedly nearing the end of their contracts, the next two years of Silly Season is expected to produce plenty of turnover throughout the garage.
Count the SHR No. 4 Ford, though, as a ride that is taken.