NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series

Former Cup champion Kevin Harvick retiring after 2023 season

Updated Jan. 12, 2023 9:38 a.m. EST

Kevin Harvick will make 2023 his final Cup season behind the wheel, concluding a 23-year Cup career that has included 60 victories and one Cup championship.

Harvick announced his decision Thursday, saying he won’t race in Cup again after this year. His contract with Stewart-Haas Racing ends after this season and he wanted to make a decision on his future prior to the start of the year.

"I’ve sought out people and picked their brains," Harvick said. "When I asked them when they knew it was the right time, they said it’ll just happen, and you’ll realize that’s the right moment. You’ll make a plan and decide when it’s your last year.

"It’s definitely been hard to understand when that right moment is because we’ve been so fortunate to run well. But sometimes there are just other things going on that become more important and, for me, that time has come."

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The 47-year-old Harvick has spent his entire Cup career under the spotlight as he replaced Dale Earnhardt after the seven-time Cup champion died in the 2001 Daytona 500. 

The decision was not a surprise as the future NASCAR Hall of Famer had indicated in December he would decide before the start of the season, and Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas said in October that Harvick had not given any indication of wanting to continue racing after 2023.

Harvick spent his first 13 seasons with Richard Childress Racing and enters his 10th with Stewart-Haas Racing, where he won in 2014 in his first year driving for good friend Tony Stewart. In addition to 23 Cup wins at RCR, Harvick also won titles in the Xfinity Series in 2001 and 2006.

Kevin Harvick wins at Richmond

Kevin Harvick holds off late surge from Christopher Bell to win at Richmond for back-to-back victories.

A fiery racer, Harvick has been known for his relentless competitiveness — a trait that helped him win 121 NASCAR national series races but also made him prone to controversy and feuds. 

Whether it was battling Ricky Rudd or Chase Elliott, Harvick drove with swagger and brashness, unafraid to retaliate if he felt it was necessary.

Harvick also owns an athlete management company and sponsor broker Kevin Harvick Inc., which has primarily focused on race-car drivers, golfers and mixed martial arts fighters. In recent years, he has focused on developing young drivers, including taking his 10-year-old son, Keelan, to Europe to race.

His 5-year-old daughter, Piper, also has started racing go-karts, and Harvick said he wants to spend more time with his kids.

"In the last year, I think I’ve seen Keelan race three times while he’s been in Europe," Harvick said. "I go to the go-kart track with Piper and she makes twice as many strides in a day while I’m there than she would in a day when I’m not there.

"It takes a lot of time to organize the level of racing they’re doing, and to be around that is important to me." 

For 10 years, KHI also fielded entries in the Xfinity and truck series, with Ron Hornaday Jr. winning the 2007 and 2009 truck titles and the team winning the Xfinity Series owners championship in its final season in 2011.

The Bakersfield, California, native grew up racing on the short tracks on the west coast and won the 1998 NASCAR West Series title.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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