Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kevin Harvick (born December 8, 1975) is an American race car driver, competing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for Richard Childress , driving the #29 Goodwrench Chevrolet. He was born in Bakersfield, California. He is known for replacing the late Dale Earnhardt after Earnhardt was killed in Daytona in 2001, and for his aggressive driving style.
Harvick started racing the way most drivers nowadays do, in carting. For ten years until around 1992, Harvick was highly successful. He raced in NASCAR's Featherlite Southwest division part-time in 1992 and until 1995, while completing high school. He became a full-time driver in 1995, becoming "Rookie of the Year" in that series that year.
He then moved up to NASCAR's Winston West division in 1997, and in 1998 became champion of that series.
In 1999, he raced in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series, and in 2000, joined the NASCAR Busch Series, driving for Richard Childress and winning three times. In 2001 Kevin became the Busch Series Champion while also driving full-time in the Winston Cup Series and finishing in the top 10, a First for any driver. Kevin also was the 2002 IROC Champion in his first try in the series, winning in dominating fashion at the California Speedway and finishing strong in the other 3 events.
In 2001, Kevin's career was greatly accelerated, albeit under very tragic circumstances. Dale Earnhardt, who had been Childress's flagship driver up to that point, was killed during the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. It was rumored that a list of drivers were considered as replacements for Earnhardt such as Earnhardt's son Dale Earnhardt Jr., Canadian CART driver Paul Tracy, and NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. In a somewhat controversial move, Childress tabbed Harvick as the replacement. All of Earnhardt's cars thereafter were painted white and red, and the number changed from 3 to 29.
On March 11, 2001, Harvick won, in his third Nextel Cup event, by narrowly edging Jeff Gordon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. At the line, Harvick narrowly inched Gordon by only six one-thousandths of a second, proving to be one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history since the introduction of electronic scoring devices. Harvick would score his second Nextel Cup victory on July 15, 2001 at Chicagoland Motor Speedway in Joliet, Illnois . All in all, he enjoyed one of the most successful campaigns by a rookie in recent memory by scoring 2 victories, 6 top fives and 16 top tens. He also went on to score Rookie of the Year honors while securing a 9th place finish in the 2001 points standings.
Ultimately, 2002 was a year of disappointment for Harvick and the entire Richard Childress organization. Harvick was fined for a post race incident with Greg Biffle at Bristol Motor Speedway and would later be suspended for rough driving following a Craftsman Truck race at Martinsville, Virginia. However, Harvick scored his first Nextel Cup pole position at the Daytona International Speedway and scored his third Nextel Cup victory at the Chicagoland Motor Speedway . He finished 21st in the 2002 points standings with 1 victory, 5 top fives and 8 top tens.
In 2003, Harvick managed to wage his most successful bid for the championship title, so far. With the addition of crew chief Todd Berrier , Harvick managed to come from 21st in the points standings to 2nd, coming within 234 points of Matt Kenseth by October. In addition, he scored his fourth victory by winning the Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Unfortunately, late season wrecks foiled what could have been a possible championship. Nevertheless, Harvick finished a solid fifth in the standings with 1 victory, 11 top fives and 18 top tens.
However, he also became known for aggressiveness and tough driving. Though he has had his share of run-ins with other drivers, Harvick is not without his sense of humor and charity. This is perhaps best exemplified by his 2004 auctioning of the famous Matt Kenseth T-shirt, which Harvick wore nearly a week after an on-track skirmish with the 2003 Winston Cup Champion at Pocono Raceway. Proceeds from the auction went to Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp, a medical camp for children and their families living with chronic and/or life-threatening illnesses.
Kevin did not have the year he would have liked in 2004, but is looking forward to the 2005 season. Besides driving for Richard Childress Racing in both the Cup and Busch series, Kevin and his wife, DeLana, have ventured into ownership of their own racing operation, starting their own Busch series team with 2002 Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart and Tony Raines sharing the driving duties. After a very successful season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series in 2004 with the #6 GM Goodwrench Silverado, Kevin has also hired fellow Californian Ron Hornaday to pilot the number 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado for 2005. Ron, a 2-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck series champion is favored by most analysts to win the 2005 Title once more.
On April 3, 2005, Harvick won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway despite starting towards the rear of the field. Harvick won without the assistance of crew chief Todd Berrier, who was serving a four-week suspension following a violation of the rules before qualifications for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was Harvick's fifth win in Nextel Cup competition, Scott Miller's first win as a crew chief, and Richard Childress Racing's 77th victory in Nextel Cup competition.
Harvick is among an elite group of drivers to have won a race in all three of NASCAR's premier racing series: Truck, Busch and Cup
Harvick finished third in the most popular driver voting last year, with only Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. having more votes
Harvick was the cover driver for Electronic Arts' video game "NASCAR 2005:Chase for the Cup".
He is sometimes known as "Happy Harvick" and "Harvey".
He became the first driver to win Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series and win the Busch Series title in the same year.
Won in his third start in the Nextel Cup series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick still races in the Busch Series and occasionally in the Craftsman Truck series.
Failed to qualify for the 2004 "Chase for the Nextel Cup," despite staying in the top ten of the points standings for a majority of the season.
Wins in NASCAR Winston/Nextel Cup Competition
March 11, Hampton, GA, in the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500
July 15, in Joliet, IL, in the Tropicana 400
July 14, in Joliet, IL, in the Tropicana 400
Winner of the Brickyard 400 at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Winner of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
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