NASCAR: Real reason why Kevin Harvick wants out at RCR

NASCAR media site

NASCAR media site

With the story breaking last week by ESPN that Kevin Harvick was leaving RCR after the 2013 season for Stewart-Haas Racing, stories started circulating why.

Harvick has raced his entire NASCAR career with RCR with a great deal of success.

He has a total of 14 wins in 120 races with them in the Camping World Truck Series, 39 wins in 290 races in the Nationwide Series, and 18 wins in 427 races in the Cup series. In addition, he was the 2001 and 2006 Nationwide Series Champion and also the 2003 Brickyard 400 and 2007 Daytona 500 champion with RCR.

After being associated with RCR for 16 years and having had tons of success with them, why would he want to leave?

Harvick was a fan favorite early on with taking over for the late Dale Earnhardt after his untimely death in 2001. The team changed the car number to 29 to give him his own identity and allow him to get out of Earnhardt’s shadow after the tragic accident, since they didn’t want to run the No. 3 after that tragic day in February. Harvick won three races after Earnhardt’s death in the 29 at Atlanta in a photo finish over Jeff Gordon.

Again, with all that history, why would he want to leave?

The answer is simple. The Dillon brothers.

Harvick sees it coming. Austin Dillon is coming up and ready to make his move to Cup. He’s running a limited season next year including the Daytona 500. 2013 will be his second full-time season in the Nationwide Series as he will need to make the move to Cup in ’14. RCR needs to add a ride or get rid of someone to make room for his grandson in Cup.

Harvick sees that and has the desire to do something new before his career is over.

Dillon is destined to take over the No. 3 in Cup. There have been rumors about Childress wanting to bring that number back. The Earnhardt camp said they’re fine with that and would welcome Dillon driving the famed number. They want a young driver who’s raced that number his whole life to run it in the big league. Dillon has done that.

It would make sense for him to take over the No. 29, which is technically the 3 team, and change it back to the original number.

Also, Harvick knows Austin’s younger brother Ty is coming up and surely going to be ready for Cup racing in ’14 or the year following. He’s arguably better than Austin and deserving of a ride. That would mean RCR will need two cars at least for both Dillon brothers and their grandpa is certainly not going to allow them to race anywhere else.

What all that means is that the attention at RCR is going to be on those two and they’re going to get all the top notch equipment. Harvick isn’t going to want to play third fiddle to two youngsters while still in the prime of his long career.

On the SHR side, Harvick and Stewart have a nice history among themselves and are really good friends. Harvick can bring his sponsor to help his buddy out to his team and make a move that very well could make him even more of a title contender than he is now with RCR.

44 Comments on NASCAR: Real reason why Kevin Harvick wants out at RCR

  1. Kurt Moore // March 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm // Reply

    Its the car and the man behind the wheel not the # on the door that wins races…will follow Kevin with any #.

  2. I’ve always said that the number should belong to the driver. It should go with them even if they change “teams”. they should also retire numbers like other sports do.

  3. No no no I just found out Kevin Harvick is now #4!!! he was my guy bc of the # 29! Why couldnt he take the # with him? I will miss #29 I just don’t know why people have to change a good thing!

  4. Too bad Harvick gave up #29 but I’ll be rooting for the #4 to be running up front.

  5. Far Fetched Dream. After Sr.’s death that year immediately following I saw Jr take on the whole racing world, and it’s fans. I had such hope that he would mature, make healthy honest honorable choices in his professional and personal life to where someday his own son would be sitting inside “3″. However from all I have seen and read, to me Jr is a real piece of work. Unworthy. Oh course the Earnhardt family is ok with it. No surprises there. As a fan of the man in black pushing that number 3 around the track, years of watching him and yes I think he must of been a real jerk. He wouldn’t do as told (black flags) “He’s behind you” wasn’t just said, it was Dale’s earned reputation (He’ll get you) and felt by all. Does not matter to me now if they use the number or not. As a fan I buried that number along with Dale Sr near and dear next to my heart for he was second to none. That’s all.

  6. Harvick is a smart guy, he sees that the Dillons are coming as well as RCR fading and got out before he took a backseat to the grandsons. Harvick’s comments about the Dillons were pretty accurate. An organization home to the greatest driver ever is now being turned over to some grandkids who will likely produce mediocre results as well as disgrace the number of the greatest ever. #3 should be retired, the only driver who should ever be considered to run the #3 is Dale Jr., certainly not a Dillon. Harvick will do fine at SHR and I cannot blame him for getting out of the “daddy ball” era before it starts.

  7. Budweiser has reported they will sponsor Harvick when he goes to SHR in 2014. If Tony wasn’t going to put a 4th team together and that’s why he dumped Ryan Newman. If you count the names: Tony, Kurt, Danica and now Kevin that adds up to 4 in my math.

  8. Harvick is a winner. The Closer will do well wherever he goes.The number 3 should be retired.

    • It’s about to be too late for your hopes of retiring the #3. That decision is up to Mr. Childress, not NASCAR, and I don’t see that happening.

      It would be ironic if Harvick comes back to RCR some day and drives the #3 though, wouldn’t it?

  9. Austin was one of the kids playing on pit road/victory lane and in the garage/shop with dale sr. and jr. Richard needs to put the boy in the #3 and paint it black and go racing. Ty when he moves up should go in Richard’s original # the 82. Harvick got rid of his team so he and delana could have kids she ran the teams, the stewart haas camp will be full of roosters (real questionable) and one bad hen next year with Kurt Bush. Tony should get Kyle Larsen and get rid of Dumica and put Johanna Long in a good Nationwide ride she would win the championship in that situation.

    • Richard drove the 3 most of his career. you’re right, it’s his number he can do what he wants with it. Don’t retire it, whenever you see the 28 or 7 on the track you think of Allison and Kulwicki. After the first year of Dales death I’ve never minded if RCR ever brought it back.

  10. Harvick drove his own truck, not RCRs. Just sayin’…

  11. I’m with you Alan… there’s enough unused numbers in the 43 car field that the 3 should be retired as some numbers have been in other sports when a player, driver or Athlete has made such an impact as Dale has on their sport.

    • I hear you Shane, but how could the 3 be retired when other iconic numbers such as the 43 are still running? Could NASCAR tell Richard Petty that his team can’t run the 43 any longer?

      There’s no perfect solution, but it looks like Richard Childress is going to solve it more or less by bringing back the 3. Bad move?

  12. Do what you with those grand kids but don’t bring the 3 back. The 3 should be retired out of respect.

  13. Oh and no one “owns” numbers. NASCAR leases them.

  14. I’ve heard earler this year, that SHR bought the rights to #4 and #8.

    • I’m sure he won’t drive an 8 car. 4 maybe but doubt it. I’m sure we will see him in the exact same car just in a different garage. As far as him moving , it makes since with the dillon bros coming up and with Smoke being his best friend. But another thing to think about. Out of the last 7 championships won where did the power plant come from? HMS. He gets best of both worlds. Great equipment, racing for his buddy, job security, and the best engines. Probably the best move he could have made. Also Kevin Harvick Inc. is now dabbling in managing pro athletes(mma for now) and you can bet alot of thought went into the decision. Also no one “made” Kevin sit out of a NW or truck race. He has his eyes on the prize. Although he did race in a few already this year. Sorry so long. Just my 2 cents. #29rollin

  15. Arlene Mccloud // June 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm // Reply

    I am a big Harvick fan and I would love to see him keep the # 29. But if he does change his number with SHR, I will follow him and support him 100%. Keep up the great work Kevin you are a awesome driver!

  16. I think it’s important to note, as I recall, Harvick had to give up his involvement in his truck and Nationwide teams this year. Don’t know if I knew the whole story but I’m guessing Richard wanted him to focus only on Cup. Also a guess he didn’t take to kindly to that, Kevin and Delana put a TON of work into those programs. Just sayin.

  17. Eric Smith // June 5, 2013 at 8:37 am // Reply

    Thanks for the reads and comments everyone! As far as the No. 29, no word has been said on whether he gets to keep it or not. I’m going to honestly think he can take the number.

    It’s to my understanding Austin Dillon will move up to Cup next year and likely drive the No. 3. With Burton in the No. 31 and Menard in No. 27 that leaves the 29 open.

    Also, Ty will likely come up in 2015 or 2016 at the latest. RCR also owns the rights to No. 33 which is the number Austin has driven Cup races in and Ty some in Nationwide. I can either see Ty in the No. 33 when he comes up or No. 31 replacing Burton

  18. does anyone know if he is keeping the number 29?

  19. unrelated.I think nascar should make a mandatory pit stop for tires an fuel & 2 minutes for quick ajustments with 20 to 30 laps left.(depending on track size.)and everyone retains there possition when the caution that would make for some really great finishes!

  20. Stewart-Hass as Peggy said above is a complete mess. They brought in Danica as a third driver and all of a sudden they are complete crap. I can’t imagine how a 4th car with Harvick is going to make things better next year. I like Harvick a lot and think he should have stayed with RCR. He is best friends with Stewart I know but how long will he take sub-par performances by his team. He’s already won twice this year and we are only a third of the way thru the year. I doubt he duplicates this success with Stewart-Hass next year, but I will cheer him on no matter what.

  21. The question is who really knows who owns the #29? Since nascar made the 4 car team policy and won’t retire numbers, someone else has an investment in one of those teams. Think about #3,#27,#29,#31,&#33 I count 5. Harvick needs to take the number with him!!!

  22. The only thing im worried about is that he dosent go to shr and ends up in a dang toyota, that would be greatly depressing to me! i think he should go to either hendrick or shr, get a good car and crew and tear up the competition. he has the skills he just needs a good crew and car to back it up!

  23. Good luck to Harvick, Stewart-Haas is a mess. So is RCR. Gramps is so wanting a winning 3 in the field, other than trucks, maybe in Cup, but not with Harvick. Hope all messes are sorted out.


  24. Harvicks my Fav driver, will still be a fan where ever he goes, even tho I hate the fact that hes leaving RCR, and hate stewart. I hope RCR lets him take the 29 with him. Doubt it tho

  25. alot of you are talking down on harvick but with the way he has dominated the bush series and done great in other races i think he has wasted his talent with RCR last person to do anything with them was SR thats why JR wouldnt drive for them so i think its a great move for harvick tony will give him a good car and hopefly budwieser will stick as his sponser if so i think harvick will be a top continder for the cup next year cause he a great driver jus dnt have the car to do it

  26. It makes more sence for Harvick to leave RCR with the Dillion brothrrs coming up, because Childress will definitely be lavishing all the best to his own family.

  27. Harvick controls his own destiny in this case. I honestly think it has nothing to do with the Dillon brothers. Austin would come in around 13′ or 14′, but you wont see Ty until maybe 15′.

    The simple truth is RCR slipping from 3 best team to 6th or 7th best team within the last few years. They are constantly playing catch up with the other teams.

    Why stay on a team that is behind Hendrick, Roush, SHR, JGR, Penske, and now this year MWR (You can argue the order, but all 6 are in front as far as performance goes.) This really looks very depressing and I think Kevin really only wants to stay at the most 5 more years.

  28. budwiser show loyalty to Harvick? budwiser has done mostly nothing with Harvick. kinda like HD has done vertualy nothing with Joey.
    I think Harvick is going due to the grandsons. and there is now way Kevin will play 3ed fiddle anywhere. the boys are good, but NASCAR wants them to win so bad its sick.

    • Thanks for the comment and read Hank! I could not agree more. Harvick sees the Dillons are coming and would be the 3rd option at best once they reach Cup. He can go elsewhere and get equal equipment with a shot at a championship. At RCR he wouldn’t get the resources due to grandpa Richard wanting Austin and Ty getting the top stuff.

  29. Another big question out there is whether Budweiser is following Kevin Harvick to SHR? Will they want to stay at RCR and sponsor a younger up and coming driver or show Harvick some loyalty?

    • Thanks for the read and comment Franco! Their deal with RCR is with Harvick and ends next year as well. I can see them following Harvick to SHR if the money is right.

  30. Jacob Harris // November 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm // Reply

    KYLE BUSCH TO Stewart Haas Racing in 2014!! Along with Kevin Harvick!!!!

  31. For Kevin to be so understanding and thoughtful is simply not the Keven i have seen in the past, I do believe the move to the Dillon boys will happen however it makes more since to allow Burton to move on, He is obviously near the end of his being highly competitive. There has to be more to this story than this, Kevin Harvick can be very deceptive as shown by some of his antics on the track that most don’t see.

    • Thanks Jim for the read and the comment. I honestly thought all along Burton would be the one to go and they’d take the 1 off the 31 and make that Austin’s car. Then they could keep Harvick and just add a fourth car for Ty when he’s ready.

      I know Harvick and Stewart are close friends and maybe he just thought it was time to move on with both Dillon’s getting all of RCRs attention. Either way a bigger story is sure to come out of it in the next year.

  32. bring in the dillon brothers,get dale jr away from hendrick put him in the #3 car

    • Thanks for the comment and read Richard! That certainly would be a very compelling story if Junior ends up in the No. 3

    • JR said after the nationwide race in Daytona in which he drove the 3. he would NEVER entertain the thought of driving the 3 car again

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