News & Media


Harvick announces shuttering of Truck team

September 09, 2011, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com

RICHMOND, Va. -- KHI had 39 wins, two titles as part of Truck Series, but Harvick says time is now

As a byproduct of the consolidation of Nationwide Series efforts between Kevin Harvick Inc. and Richard Childress Racing, one of the top teams on the Camping World Truck circuit will be shutting down.

Harvick said Friday that he would no longer field his Truck operation -- one that's won 39 races and two championships -- after this year. The move is part of a vast scaling-down of KHI that will also include selling the shop facility and equipment, all of it stemming from the shift of Nationwide efforts to RCR, and all of it with the goal of putting more focus on Harvick's effort on the Sprint Cup tour.

"Without the Cup cars being successful on Sunday, or Saturday night or whatever the case may be, Trucks don't exist, Nationwide cars don't exist, and sponsors aren't there. ... That Cup championship is what we're after."

--KEVIN HARVICK

Harvick fields two full-time Truck teams, for drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Ron Hornaday, as well as a third entry that runs part-time. Hornaday has won two of his four Truck titles under the KHI banner.

"It's been a great run. Obviously, one of the hardest conversations I've had to have was with Ron, telling him where everything was going. He was a big part of helping us get to the point that we're at today," Harvick said at Richmond International Raceway.

"It's fun, don't get me wrong. It's fun to go out and win Truck races and be a part of it. We've been able to win championships. I that's one of the great things about where we're at with the decision -- it's not like we're struggling to get by, or there's no sponsorship, or we're not winning any races. ... In the end, and this is no knock on anything, but really the only thing I want to do that we haven't been able to accomplish in my career is win the Cup championship. Cup cars make it all go around. Richard and I have talked about this a lot. Without the Cup cars being successful on Sunday, or Saturday night or whatever the case may be, Trucks don't exist, Nationwide cars don't exist, and sponsors aren't there. ... That Cup championship is what we're after."

Earlier this week, Harvick announced that the team's two-car Nationwide efforts would be shifted to RCR, reversing a move the two operations made in consolidating under one roof at KHI prior to this season. The reason, Harvick said, is that Nationwide cars are more similar to Sprint Cup cars today in areas like tires, parts, and inspection, and utilizing RCR's Sprint Cup knowledge in building them simply made too much sense. The finalization and rollout of the merged Nationwide programs was the reason Harvick was unable to attend the NASCAR function at the White House on Wednesday.

As a result, KHI will be scaled back to a company that primarily runs Harvick's personal business, fan club, website, and other non-racing matters. The equipment and the shop, Harvick said, will be sold. KHI employs 140 people, who were informed of the news Wednesday afternoon. Harvick is hopeful that many of them will find jobs in RCR's expanded Nationwide program, in which Harvick will retain an interest. Harvick said the move will allow him more time to spend with his Sprint Cup car and with sponsors, remove some ownership pressures, and allow him extra free time.

"There are some normal things you can do in life, I hear," he joked. "Hopefully, we can experience some of those."

But the most obvious repercussion will entail the shutdown of a Truck Series team that has been a cornerstone of KHI's success. The circuit does not compete again until next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

"It's a tough model, business-wise. We've scrimped and scraped and got the sponsorship and things that you need, and GM has been a great supporter of everything that we've done. But from a business standpoint, sometimes you just have to make the decisions as to what you want to do, and for us it just didn't make sense," said Harvick, who co-owns KHI with his wife DeLana.

"I think when you look at the expectations that we put on the company to race, it costs us more to race the vehicles than maybe some other people. The Truck Series is a great series. It's a lot of fun. I would love to continue driving some races in the Truck Series as we move forward. It's just a point where we felt needed to make some decisions from a business standpoint, and these are the decisions that DeLana and I made. ... We were making it all work, but sometimes you just feel like you've got to get something out of it. We were winning races and love to be a part of that, but in the end, it's business."