Kevin Harvick returns to the 29 car this weekend at North Wilkesboro for one race. Many NASCAR fans remember him for his early days driving the No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing, and for all of the incredible moments he had. Here are the top five Kevin Harvick moments in the 29.
5. 2003 Chevy Rock and Roll 400 (Kevin Harvick vs Ricky Rudd)
Kevin Harvick was in contention to win and most definitely earn a top five finish during the fall race at Richmond in 2003. With eight laps to go, Harvick was battling with Ricky Rudd for second place, when Rudd spun Harvick heading into turn one. The No. 29 car of Harvick was taken out of contention and finished 16th.
After the race, a hot-headed Harvick pulled up next to Rudd’s No. 21, and, after a brief conversation, walked across the top of the 21 with a crew member jumping on it. This set off a shoving match on pit road before the two crews were separated.
Harvick called Rudd’s move a “cheap shot.” Rudd took responsibility for the incident, but, that obviously did not satisfy Harvick.
4. 2010 Auto Club 500 (Golden Horseshoe)
After Jimmie Johnson won once again at Auto Club Speedway in 2010, Harvick had some choice words in the media center for the then four-time Cup Series Champion. Harvick went on to talk about how lucky the 48 team was and said, “They have a golden horseshoe stuck up their ___.”
Harvick was and is a guy who has been ripe for a good soundbite. However, he later went on to say that this was a comment that he did not need to say. Regardless, this was a funny soundbite that he will never live down.
3. 2010 Aaron’s 499 (Harvick Breaks a Winless Streak)
The longest losing streak of Harvick’s career came from 2007-2010 where he went 115 starts without claiming a victory. In 2010, he was back to form as the points leader for a good chunk of the early part of the season, but still without a win heading into the ninth race of the season at Talladega.
A historic race that featured a Cup Series record 88 lead changes amongst 28 different drivers. Harvick waited until the last possible moment to make his move on race leader Jamie McMurray. In the tri-oval, Harvick dropped to the inside to slingshot his way past the 1 car of McMurray, and took the win by 0.011 seconds.
The win would catapult Harvick to the best season of his career to that point. He would lead the points by over 200 points before the playoffs started, and finished third behind Johnson and Denny Hamlin.
2. 2007 Daytona 500 (Harvick’s Surprise 500 Victory)
Harvick was up near the front during the 2007 Daytona 500, but he never really seemed like a serious contender for the win. Especially on the final restart when he restarted in seventh with only two laps to go. He had only one chance, move to the outside.
On the final lap, Harvick, pushed by Matt Kenseth, creeped from seventh up to the lead alongside Mark Martin heading into turn three. As the big one happened coming off of turn four, it was Harvick and Martin side-by-side. Harvick would nose Martin by 0.02 seconds to take home the Daytona 500.
To this day, it is Harvick’s only Daytona 500 triumph. Regardless, a Daytona 500 win is a Hall of Fame accomplishment for a Hall of Fame career.
1. 2001 Cracker Barrel 500 (Harvick Helps Heal NASCAR)
Harvick was thrust into the Cup Series in 2001 following the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt. In the third start of his career, Harvick put on a show. A five-car battle for the lead ensued in the final laps between Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Jerry Nadeau, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
A three-wide pass for the lead with five laps to go gave Harvick the lead with Gordon in hot pursuit. Gordon closed in on Harvick during the final lap. Through turns three and four, Harvick gave Gordon the bottom and the two were side by side to the line.
In what was a splitten image of the finish from the year before where Earnhardt beat Bobby Labonte, Harvick beat Earnhardt’s rival, Gordon, by 0.006 seconds. The win was not only the first of Harvick’s career, but it was also a win that gave Earnhardt’s fans something they could cheer for. NASCAR was healing, and Harvick accelerated that process.
Harvick had many incredible moments throughout his time in the No. 29 car. This weekend, he returns to the car number that made him famous. Can he add to that car number’s history this weekend?