Kevin Harvick Having Fun Helping Kyle Larson, Hendrick for All-Star Race

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. – Filling in as a substitute for Kyle Larson in practice for the NASCAR All-Star Race, 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick is having fun listening to other perspectives and picking up valuable knowledge as a NASCAR on FOX analyst.

Harvick traded in his helmet for a microphone following the completion of the 2023 season. The opportunity to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in place of Larson was more to help the Hendrick Motorsports team. With Larson focused on Indianapolis 500 qualifying, Harvick stepped in to practice the car, having some fun in the process.

“Obviously my full-time career is over,” Harvick said. “I think that sometimes there are just things that pop up that are fun. This’ll be fun for me; it’ll be fun for Cliff (Daniels, crew chief), and it’ll be fun just to relate and talk to Kyle about what’s happening here today. Obviously, he has a lot going on.

“So, to get back in the car six months later, you’re definitely not as sharp as you would have been if you had gotten right back in and run all the races. This is more to help those guys out in this scenario. I think they were just looking for somebody who had been in a car. This car is a lot different to drive than an Xfinity car or any of the other cars that you would run. Really just having a good time with it, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Kevin harvick had fun filling in for kyle larson in all-star race practice at north wilkesboro speedway.
Photo by Blake Ulino/Kickin’ the Tires.

It gave the broadcaster an updated view on the NASCAR NextGen car. With various rule changes, it is not the same as what Harvick competed with last year. On top of that, the 60-time winner in the Cup Series grabbed an understanding of the red option Goodyear Racing Eagles. The softer compound tire was made with the same rubber as the wet weather tires.

Harvick noted that it is important to be able to check in and hear the thoughts and processes of others to stay in touch with the constant evolution that is stock car racing. Fellow commentator Clint Bowyer never drove the NextGen car in competition. When combined, the insight both Bowyer and Harvick bring is crucial to translate what drivers and teams are experiencing to the viewers watching at home.

“It’s priceless (to know what’s going on in these cars),” Harvick explained. “This sport evolves quickly. To be understand the tires, the scenario that goes with how long these tires will last, how fast they go, what the feeling is and what all the scenarios are… listening to someone else’s team, I took my team for granted because we had been around for so long.

“To hear other people’s thoughts and process and understand all those things to be able to relate to the fans, it’s a pretty big deal to get a mid-year check of things that go with the evolution of our sport. It evolves quickly and can leave you behind quickly. To be still engrained in it and understand where everything’s at is always good.”

The transition from being a part-time broadcaster to full-time in booth was seamless. Having been teammates on track with Bowyer, Harvick didn’t have to adjust to get to know him. However, he did get to know his broadcasting teammate, Mike Joy, building a comfort level in the booth to call races.

‘It’s just a different group of people,” Harvick stated. “I’m intrigued with how to communicate with people and how things are structured. On the television side, it’s a lot of people. To be able to know and understand how that process works and be able to work with different people…

“I just have a different team that I work with. I’ve been fortunate to not to have to get to know Clint. Mike, I’ve not known him personally, but to get to know him and be able to be comfortable in the booth, we’ve had a good time calling the races and have been able to evolve and get better as the year has gone on. It’s been very different living outside the infield. The thing I’ve been had to worry about the most this year is where we’re going to eat dinner at night. It’s much different than how you function in the infield.”

Including the NASCAR All-Star Race, FOX Sports has four NASCAR Cup Series races left this season. The network’s final race of the 2024 season is the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 9.

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