With the opening of a Busch Light and a heartfelt toast, Kevin Harvick announced on Thursday morning that he will be retiring from NASCAR following the conclusion of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season: "Here's to the final season being the best season."
In a video posted on all social media accounts along with the simple caption "#4EVER," the 47-year-old Harvick officially put an end date on his 22-year career in NASCAR's premier series.
— Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) January 12, 2023
For the Bakersfield, California native, the decision to call it quits was ultimately an easy one.
"From talking to all the people I've talked to, it always came down to the same, 'Oh, you'll know, you'll know it is time, you'll know the right moment,'" Harvick told the Associated Press ahead of his official announcement.
"It's great to be able to go out on your own terms and plan it how you want it to go, but the biggest thing that sticks out to me is my kids. Being home with them and seeing the impact that you have with them when you are home, being able to be part of that daily process and be that father figure, it's just time."
The 2014 Cup champion (who also has 60 wins and 428 top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Cup Series) and soon-to-be Hall of Famer will have plenty to keep him busy in retirement life. He's got Kevin Harvick Inc., the racing team he owns with his wife DeLana that was just part of a major deal to acquire the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour. He'll likely spend a lot more time in the Fox Sports' broadcast booth. But, of course, the main priority for Harvick is to spend more time with his family. Ten-year-old Keelan has already proven his go-karting talents on the international stage (he raced in Italy this past year), while five-year-old Piper is also taking a keen interest in karting.
"You know, Keelan, he needs that father figure in his life, especially as he goes down the racing route," Harvick said. "And then Piper probably asks to go to the go-kart track more than he does, and having to send her to the track by herself really frustrates me.
"You don't want her not to have the opportunity to learn like he did. She makes twice as many strides in a day while I'm there than she would in a day when I'm not there. So there's just a time when you have to ask yourself, 'What's the most important thing for me and my time and my family right now?'"
Kevin, you?ve made the boss 4EVER proud.
For competing fiercely, caring deeply, speaking up & never settling.
By doing it your way, without apology & elevating our team.
Now let's make your final laps the best laps.
Savor the season. Take it in. Compete like hell.#4EVER pic.twitter.com/ubYAbZvGvj
— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) January 12, 2023
After a 13-year stint with Richard Childress Racing, Harvick signed with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. That first season with SHR, Harvick won his first title. SHR co-owner Tony Stewart, who once called Harvick "the complete package" in NASCAR, will no doubt miss his longtime friend being behind the wheel of the No. 4 car. Still, the three-time Cup champ is rooting for Harvick in his next chapter.
"I want Kevin to savor every lap this season, to compete like hell and to take it all in," Stewart said. "He's made all of us at Stewart-Haas Racing incredibly proud, and we want to make his last season his best season."
MORE: 5 Times Kevin Harvick Unleashed on Rival NASCAR Drivers in Post-Race Interviews
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