“This week was a little more difficult” before final Cup race

Race winner and 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet celebrates

“I think this week has been definitely different than everything leading up to this just because of the fact that there isn’t a next week,” Kevin Harvick said Friday.

“There’s been a next week up until this week.”

But next week, Harvick’s long, distinguished driving career will come to an end but his role in NASCAR will not.

The next chapter

In addition to operating several other business ventures, Harvick, 47, will join Fox TV’s NASCAR broadcast team next season, as an analyst in the booth for Cup races and also occasional work in Xfinity and Trucks.

Since the departure of Jeff Gordon, who left the booth following the 2021 season, Fox Sports has used a rotation of guests to fill the third spot alongside Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer.

With Harvick, Fox gets a driver with a Hall of Fame-worthy career, who has had no problem speaking his mind on issues in NASCAR, including safety, the necessity to shakeup the Cup schedule and the importance of grassroots racing.

“Obviously, it’s been a great ride and I think for me it’s something that I love to do,” Harvick said. “I think as you look back on it and realize all the things that you’ve been able to be a part of and be fortunate to be somewhat successful at, it’s been fun.

“I think, for me, all the weeks leading up to this particular one were really not that hard. I think this week was a little more difficult just because it is the last week with your guys and the people and everything that you do is actually coming to an end.

“I don’t think up until this point, I don’t think anybody really thought it was real and this week it’s pretty real.”

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Race winner and 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet celebrates

Unlike many of today’s up-and-coming Cup stars, Harvick seemed to excel in the twilight of his career, winning his first Cup Series title in 2014 at the age of 38 and securing 32 of his 60 Cup wins since then.

After finishing in the top-five in the series standings six times prior to his 2014 move to Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick has finished outside the top-five only three times since, including three straight appearances in the Championship 4 from 2017 to 2019.

Among his 60 wins, Harvick owns victories in the “crown-jewel” races of the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. The only other drivers in NASCAR history to accomplish this feat…

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