Kevin Harvick officially notched 700 career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday when his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford fired off at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick became the 18th driver to reach the milestone.
The 44-year-old from Bakersfield, California, joined the NASCAR Cup Series in 2001 as the full-time driver of the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. His first race was the Dura Lube 400 on Feb. 26, 2001 at North Carolina Speedway, where he finished 14th. That season, Harvick accomplished two wins as a rookie. He broke through to Victory Lane in just his third start that season: the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 11, 2001.
That victory marked the first of 53. The 2014 champion has won four races in 2020 — so far.
Crew chief Rodney Childers noted his driver’s career milestone over the No. 4 team communications in pace laps Sunday: “All right, bud. Have fun. Seven hundred starts is something to be proud of. Done a hell of a lot in that amount of time, so have some fun today. Go get you another one here today.” Harvick’s reply: “10-4, man. Thanks. Appreciate all the help. You guys have fun in there. See what we can do.”
Harvick, who has gained the nicknames “Happy Harvick” and “The Closer” over the years, boasts trophies from 22 tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit, putting him three away from a clean sweep. He has yet to win at Daytona International Speedway’s road course (debuts in 2020), Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval (debuted in 2018) and Kentucky Speedway.
At Texas, Harvick has won three times. All of the victories took place within the last five years.