On Friday evening, Kevin Harvick will strap into the No. 2 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Silverado in the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race for Kevin Harvick, Inc. and then on Saturday afternoon he will watch this his wife on the pit box as the company he built runs its final race.
Some would look at this as an emotional time for the Harvicks. For Kevin Harvick, emotions were running high when he and his wife(DeLana) made the decision to close the shop after ten years. Since then, he has been at peace.
“There are some emotions – I got over those nine or 10 weeks ago,” Harvick said Tuesday. “It will be interesting to see how those emotions are as they push the cars and trucks into the trailers for the last time.”
Richard Childress Racing will take over the KHI Nationwide program, while Eddie Sharp Racing has purchased the assets of the truck program.
KHI has already clinched the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championship with the No. 2 truck, and Harvick would love to see his company win in their final outing in that truck at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night.
“As we go into Friday night as we race the truck, we want to go down and do like we’ve done the whole year – contend for the win, try to win the last race, that would be neat,” Harvick said. “To have won the owners championship and have a chance to win the last race, that would be great.”
KHI has put three trucks and two Nationwide cars on the track all season, with a third Nationwide car in select races.
It has won one Nationwide race – Tony Stewart at Daytona, the 10th Nationwide win in team history. It has won 10 truck races this year to increase its total to 43.
Ron Hornaday won two driver titles for KHI in the trucks but saw his hopes this year end two weeks ago at Texas with a crash, partly his fault when he got racing three-wide with Kyle Busch and then was finished off by Busch in retaliation.
Nationwide driver Elliott Sadler also was in the championship hunt but saw his hopes end in a wreck with Jason Leffler last week at Phoenix.
“Neither of those accidents cost us the championship,” Harvick said. “I think as you look back at the season, the Truck Series program, for instance, Ron got off to a rough start at Daytona, then they had several good weeks. The middle of the season was just kind of a disaster, I guess you could say. We put the pieces back together, I guess for the last third of the season, [and] really they were playing catch-up for the whole time.
“You can look at the Nationwide team and have those same arguments. They didn’t win any races. You got to have some cushion in there. You got to perform to the level that you need to perform at to not have it come down to one race.”
One of the reasons Harvick opted to get out of Nationwide competition was because the cars are so similar to Cup cars that he believed it’s better for Cup teams to build those cars. He will still compete in Nationwide events through RCR.
“The transformation that’s been happening at the shop as we’ve gone through the last several weeks of stuff being moved and transferred and things kind of starting to take a new look of the way the buildings will function as we move forward kind of has put it all into perspective from several weeks ago,” Harvick said.
“I don’t think it will be that big of an emotional shock to know that’s the last one.”
In fact, Harvick thinks he will have good feelings on the final weekend.
“It’s a huge relief,” Harvick said. “That’s the feeling that DeLana and I have been going through for the last several weeks, knowing this is the last week. … I really get to do all the same things.
“But the things you have to worry about on a day-to-day basis, Richard and our whole team are looking after those things. It’s been a fun transition and I’m really looking forward to the future and the performance of the vehicles.”