News & Media

Impending fatherhood impetus to KHI shutdown

January 26, 2012, Mark Aumann,

CONCORD, N.C. -- The secret can now be revealed: The main reason why Kevin Harvick decided to shut down his race team at the end of the season? Because wife, DeLana, is 14 weeks pregnant.

During the NASCAR preseason media tour stop Wednesday night at Richard Childress Racing, Harvick said impending fatherhood was the tipping point in the process of evaluating the immediate future of Kevin Harvick Inc.

Kevin and DeLana Harvick bow out with their third Truck owners' title in the past five years. (Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick Inc.

Career Statistics
Avg. Start14.29.3
Avg. Fin.14.610.9

"There were a lot of factors that went into the KHI decision, but when your wife tells you she's not starting a family unless you get out of the race team business, that's a pretty big factor in things that are going on," Harvick said.

"It was kind of like it was all meant to be: Austin [Dillon] coming up in the Nationwide car, us wanting to do the family aspect of life and Eddie Sharp starting his team. It all lined up perfectly. And the baby's due on the off week in July."

For Harvick, it was a matter of evolving priorities. Despite 10 Nationwide victories, 43 wins in the Truck series and a pair of championships with Ron Hornaday, Harvick said running a race team -- no matter how enjoyable and successful it might have been -- was no longer his top priority.

"You go through different phases of your life," Harvick said. "You sit down and do your estate planning and it's just you and her. There's nobody to carry on the things that we sat there and built. And how important are a bunch of race cars, 15 years down the road? Not really.

"It put a lot of things into perspective for us. We did a good job at running the race teams, we were competitive. And I think as you move down the road and I'm done driving, I think you can always fire that back up again."

Much of KHI wound up being absorbed into the Childress organization, which will be running a total of nine full-time teams across the three national series in 2012. But Harvick admitted he couldn't get rid of everything -- mainly because he needed a place to put his stuff.

"We kept the shop," Harvick said. "We put Joe Denette Motorsports in our fab shop with Ron Hornaday's trucks. We kept the facility because I didn't know how much junk I really had. It's already packed full."

There had been quite a bit of speculation as to the reasons behind the dissolution of KHI. The rumors in the garage area, media center and on fan message boards ran the gamut, with everything from financial issues to marriage woes discussed. Harvick admitted that sitting on the secret and watching the rumor mill in action was particularly humorous.

"That was very entertaining to see," Harvick said. "And now you see all the people who were buying into all the rumors. And now you finally let the last piece out of the bag, and hopefully it all makes sense to everybody as to the direction it all went now."

Without the commitments of a business to run, the Harvicks were able to take vacations during the offseason and spend some quality time together in preparation for a family addition. And for the driver who has finished third in the Sprint Cup Series standings in each of the past two seasons, the anticipation is almost overwhelming.

"It's going to be great," Harvick said. "I've been so excited. You get a little bit emotional about stuff like that. DeLana and I are happy to finally let the cat out of the bag, and we're looking forward to the new experiences that it leads to in life."