Kevin Harvick really likes the trophies and the money but perhaps most of all right now he’s enjoying the moment.
Harvick has never been this good this early in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season – he add a victory and $1 million first prize in Saturday night’s All-Star Race to the five race wins he has already accumulated this season.
The success may also be more appreciated as he is now an experienced veteran in the twilight of his racing career.
“The coolest part about it is for me, it’s really I love the trophy and the money – that’s great,” Harvick said, “but seeing the effort that’s paid off for the guys on my team, seeing a guy who has won a zillion races in his career with a bunch of different race teams like Doug Yates walk into Victory Lane, that guy just absolutely loves to race.
“When you put a restrictor-plate on these engines, he’s just a guy that wants to just pour every ounce he’s got into it.”
The All-Star Race was the first in the Cup series to utilize a new aero package that included front air ducts, restrictor-plates, a larger rear spoiler and splitter used on 2014 cars.
From all accounts, it appeared to be a success, producing two, three and four-wide racing at times and 38 green-flag passes for the lead during the four-stage event.
And Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team seemed to thrive on the challenge.
“Everything’s going our way. We have really fast cars. Everybody is executing. The pit crew didn't have a great first stop with the tire getting hung in the fender, but they rebounded with a great pit stop on the next stop and gained a spot or two there,” he said.
“That’s what you want out of an experienced team, whether it’s the pit crew, the crew chief, the driver. When something goes wrong, you got to be able to overcome it, refocus, move forward.
“I'm proud of them all. That to me is more important than the money and everything that comes with it because everybody puts so much time with it. There’s nothing better than seeing them all high-five with it in Victory Lane.”
Winning the All-Star Race
Harvick, 42, owns 42 Cup wins in his career, including a series championship. He owns two championships and 47 wins in the Xfinity Series and 14 victories in the Truck Series.
Yet, he still sees something special in the annual All-Star Race that you can’t find anywhere else.
“There’s something about winning at Charlotte, there’s something about winning the All-Star Race, being able to win on those nights where you just throw caution to the wind because you know everybody in the whole field is doing the exact same thing, and they all want what you did,” he said.
“We’re 2-18 now (in all-star races). I think that’s pretty neat. I know how much effort and time they put into it. For me, that’s one of the things that motivates me.”