The Closer, Kevin Harvick, was a guest on NASCAR Race Hub on FS1 Thursday Night to reveal a much-hyped announcement.
He teased us a little bit with announcing a throwback helmet he’ll be running this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he captured his first very emotional win in 2001 after the death of 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Dale Earnhardt.
But that, of course, wasn’t the breaking news story. The main story was that “Happy” Kevin Harvick will run a number 29 car one last time as a throwback to that first win at Atlanta. The, for the most part, very accurate throwback will be sported at North Wilkesboro for the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race.
You Need To Know:
- Kevin Harvick spent the first 13 years of his Cup career at Richard Childress Racing. He was a full-time Xfinity Series driver, driving the No. 2 AC Delco Chevrolet for the company in 2000 and 2001. He was scheduled to run the No. 30 AOL Chevy on a part-time basis in 2001 prior to the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt during the 2001 Daytona 500. Following that tragic event, RCR droped the #3 and chose the next number available, which just so happened to be the number 29, which Harvick would drive all the way through 2013.
- As Harvick left RCR for Stewart-Haas Racing prior to the beginning of the 2014 season (a season in which he’d capture his first and only, so far, Cup Series championship), the two didn’t end on the best of terms. Harvick was very critical of “those kids”, meaning Austin and Ty Dillion as they rose through the ranks, as the main competitors for his ride at RCR. Harvick would leave RCR for friend, Tony Stewart’s team and the No. 29 team would revert back to the No. 3 with Austin Dillon for the 2014 season.
- As Harvick has said himself on numerous occasions, for the remainder of the 2001 season after that tragic Daytona race, he and the entire No. 29 team were very much in a daze. He was juggling his full-time Xfinity Series ride (a season in which he’d win the championship) and filling in for perhaps the greatest driver in NASCAR history. 2002 saw a lot of changes for the No. 29 crew as Harvick wanted “his people” from the Busch car, not Dale’s people. The pairing between RCR and Harvick would prove fruitful as he’d go on to win 23 races. His first win at Atlanta in 2001 would prove to be a popular one with fans on the same level as Dale Jr.’s emotional 2001 Pepsi 400 victory. I’m sure fans will be very happy about this throwback scheme as it was one of Harvick’s most popular wins.
With North Wilkesboro returning to the Cup Series schedule this year (even though it is just for the All-Star race), many fans have questioned if this race would be the ultimate throwback event for the 2023 season rather than the spring Darlington race.
While throwbacks have been fairly common in the sport for many years, particularly in retirement seasons or races at Darlington, there wasn’t a sanctioned throwback weekend for the sport until 2015 for that year’s Southern 500. In 2022, the throwback weekend moved from that Labor Day Crown Jewel event to the spring.
It’ll be interesting to see if NASCAR will do Darlington Throwbacks this year or if they’ll be strictly regulated to another NASCAR OG track in North Wilkesboro. Only time will tell. Regardless, this No. 29 throwback HAS to be in contention for the best throwback of 2023…and the others haven’t even been released yet!
Kevin Harvick drove the No. 29 for the first 13 years of his Cup Series career. The 2023 throwback for the all-star race is the truest of All-Star throwbacks I’ve seen in the last few years. The only major difference is manufacturer and that’s pretty small potatoes compared to everything else.
As mentioned in the Race Hub video below, Kevin Harvick himself reached out to Richard Childress for his support in running this very special scheme.
RCR was very supportive of Harvick to run this scheme and number at North Wilkesboro. They even tweeted about it shortly before Harvick made his official announcement.
Kevin Harvick and RCR aren’t the only ones giving a throwback at this year’s North Wilkesboro race regarding the No. 4-turned No. 29 team. While Harvick’s sponsor from 2001, GM Goodwrench, isn’t a thing anymore, his current sponsor, Busch Light, will also throwback to their 2001 logo on the hood of the No. 29 SHR Ford.
In the response below, Busch pokes fun at their driver for getting emotional towards the end of the video.
In The Stands
The scheme reveal has gotten a lot of attention from fans, almost universally positive. Justin thinks 29 might just be Harvick’s lucky number considering his phone battery percentage…
Mike Cook, a clear Happy Harvick fan, thanks RCR for allowing his favorite driver to run this scheme.
The initial win this scheme pays tribute to stole Sue’s heart and the hearts of many others…
On Your Screen
Denny Delivers on YouTube reacted to the news with this tweet:
It’ll be great to see this car on track again. We at the Daily Downforce expect many more throwback paying homage to Happy Harvick’s great career. #4Ever