Helpful Harvick still dabbles in Truck Series
February 01, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Kevin Harvick may be a year removed from his role as a team owner, but that doesn’t mean the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has completely removed himself from either the Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series.
Harvick, 37, shut the doors on a highly successful organization after the 2011 season, and while Kevin Harvick Inc. no longer exists, he continues to compete in both series for a limited number of races.
For 2013, he’s also become a bit of a sounding board for at least one current owner in the Truck Series –- NTS Motorsports owner Bob Newberry.
“Bob has been a huge contributor to our foundation and, obviously, being from Bakersfield (Calif.), I’ve gotten to know him fairly well,” said Harvick, who is also a Bakersfield native. “But I don’t necessarily have a role other than to give my feedback when I drive the vehicle.”
To that end, Harvick will return to the Truck Series at least twice in 2013, piloting the No. 24 NTS Chevrolet at events held at Martinsville Speedway.
“Bob asks a lot of questions and you try to tell him exactly what the experiences that you had (were), and give him the most advice you can give him with the things we had done in the past,” Harvick said. “I’m more of a bounce-the-questions-off guy than I am anything else.”
Harvick is also a successful driver and owner in the series. As a driver, he’s won 14 times. His KHI team won 43 races, including championships with Ron Hornaday Jr. in 2007 and 2009.
The NTS Motorsports organization is the result of a merger of NTS and Joe Denette Motorsports teams from 2012. The group plans to field three trucks this season, with Hornaday and Newberry’s son, Brennan, running the full schedule. A third truck is scheduled to be fielded full time, although the only races announced thus far for that team are the two in place for Harvick.
“Kevin has offered a lot of information to us,” Newberry said. “He’s been around the racing enough and he’s the king when it comes to trucks, in my opinion. … In 10 minutes, he can tell you what it takes most people a week to try to figure out. The guy’s just really intuitive.”
Hornaday, 54, failed to win a race last season while paired with Denette, ending a seven-year run that saw the veteran win at least one race a season. Harvick’s input, he said, would be a huge plus for the organization.
“(Bob Newberry) has been talking to Kevin on … how to run the business to be successful … some of the mistakes that Kevin made so we don’t have to go down that path,” Hornaday said. “They speak rather frequently on how to run the business and mainly how to run the competition side of it.”
Bruce Cook will serve as director of competition for the organization, as well as crew chief for Hornaday and the No. 9 team. Eddie Pardue was just announced as crew chief for Brennan Newberry and the group’s No. 14 team. No crew chief has been named for the No. 24 ride at this time.
Newberry say’s he confident the company can succeed, in part because of Harvick’s help.
“Kevin’s been there, he’s done it,” Bob Newberry said. “He doesn’t have to do this. (He’s) really stepping out and, as a friend, helping NTS build up to where Kevin actually ended up with KHI. Just to have the opportunity to do that is a dream come true.”