NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick busy connecting with sport’s history

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet, has his eyes wide open when it comes to the sport’s history. As NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, he’ll vote for the next class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 20, and in September he’ll drive a car with a throwback paint scheme at Darlington, S.C.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet, has his eyes wide open when it comes to the sport’s history. As NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, he’ll vote for the next class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 20, and in September he’ll drive a car with a throwback paint scheme at Darlington, S.C. Getty Images

Not quite six months into his reign as NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series champion, Kevin Harvick has proven an adept student of the sport’s history and a vocal proponent of honoring its past.

Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Harvick talked about two upcoming events he believes will help fans new and old connect with NASCAR’s history.

On May 20, Harvick will take part in the voting for the next class of inductees in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, an honor added to the champion’s responsibilities last year.

“I just got my binder with all of the information about the new possible inductees and I’m going to be sitting at my desk making sure I know everything I can about them,” Harvick said.

“Even for someone like myself, there are some of the guys I don’t know a lot about and I know a lot more about some others, but that shouldn’t sway what I do with my vote.

“Some I don’t know a lot about have been just as big a part of this sport.”

One member of the Class of 2015, Rex White, joined Harvick on Wednesday in unveiling a new design for his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet, to be used in the Sept. 6 Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, a race Harvick won last season.

White spent a good deal of his NASCAR career driving a No. 4 Chevrolet as well.

The retro-themed Budweiser design – gold with an eagle-winged crest – mimics the first beer can the company ever produced.

The paint scheme is part of SHR’s contribution to Darlington’s “The Tradition Returns” campaign this season as its annual date on the Cup series schedule moved back to its traditional spot on Labor Day weekend.

“It should have never been moved to begin with,” Harvick said of the iconic track’s spot on the schedule. “You look at Darlington and the history that it has in our sport, winning the Southern 500 is something that as a driver you definitely want to have on your resume.

“To come back this year and celebrate that win with the great program that the race track has come up with and to see so many teams participating, I’m really excited about that weekend.”

The biggest asset NASCAR has to share the sport’s storied history is its “living legends,” Harvick said.

“For me, it’s more important to have guys like Rex participating in all the things we do, coming to the race track, being a part of the weekend and coming to the events,” he said. “Guys like Rex have played such a large role in making what the sport is today. A lot of people today don’t understand the past and how far our sport has come.

“It’s important for people to understand where this sport came from and to see some of who those players in the sport were.”

Elliott picks up sponsor

NAPA Auto Parts announced a three-year deal to become the primary sponsor on Cup series rookie Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for 24 of 36 races beginning next season.

Elliott, 19, will take over the driving duties of the No. 24 from four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

Utter: 704- 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter

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