Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Keep an eye on Kevin Harvick making a move up to NASCAR Cup team ownership....if everything falls into place

   Kevin Harvick: NASCAR's most astute driver-owner-businessman....and the next Richard Childress? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   When it comes to business smarts in this sport – on the ownership side – there may be no smarter dude than Kevin Harvick, who is slowly building Kevin Harvick Inc (KHI) into a minor NASCAR powerhouse over in Kernersville, N.C.
   So is Harvick, in this season of opportunities, and with new owner-driver Tony Stewart as one of his best buds, thinking about expanding KHI from a Truck-Nationwide operation and add a Sprint Cup team?
   The opportunity is certainly there. The brain power is there. And the organization is there.
   The game plan?
   Harvick says he wouldn't shy away from making a move to add a Cup team, if all the pieces fall into place, but he'd do it like Dale Earnhardt Sr. did – keep his day-job driving for Richard Childress, and work on the KHI part of the sport on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
    So what advice would Stewart, the rookie owner who has been surprisingly successful and extremely well organized so far, offer buddy Harvick?  
   "Shoot, I'm calling him with questions," Stewart says with a laugh.
   "He's kind of been the guy that I can call at 11p.m. or midnight, after Rick Hendrick and Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress have gone to sleep.
    "Kevin and I talk a lot. And I think he would know what to do already.
   "He's done the Truck program and the Nationwide program enough that I don't believe I would have to tell him anything.
    "I think he's a smarter car owner than I am right now."
    And Stewart says he's seen nothing so far that would tell Harvick not to do it: "We've only raced five weeks so far, but I haven't had a bad experience with it yet."
    In fact Stewart concedes he's been a bit surprised at how smoothly and successfully things are going.
    "If you looked at it on paper and said 'These are the resources, this is the equipment we have, these are the people we have, on paper it's supposed to work just fine.
    "Obviously when you get to the track, and you get the personalities involved, there are a lot of things that can be different. And you realize how many good teams there really are out here.
   "So from a certain standpoint, yes, I have been surprised,
   "But at the same time, when we did our homework last year, and before we made the decision to make the switch, we looked at it saying we feel the right resources are in place to do well.
    "I think it was just a question of how long was it going to take to gel and become successful.
    "We haven't gotten that first win, and we haven't got that first top-five. But we have had consistent runs, and we're in the top-10 in points, That in itself is an accomplishment."

   Tony Stewart (R) with engineer Scott Maxim (C) and crew chief Darian Grubb: Will Stewart tell buddy Kevin Harvick to jump into the driver-owner waters and try to swim with the big fish? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Harvick himself?
   Since winning the 2007 Daytona 500, in that thrilling finish with Mark Martin, Harvick has been a changed man, much more aware of this sport's big picture. He has matured, and if not mellowed at least come to terms with the aggravations of life and business in the NASCAR world.
   And he's been quietly putting together a formidable racing operation the past two years.
   However, Harvick insists he's not going to be rushed into anything: "Everything we've done at our company has been done when the timing was right.
    "We did the Nationwide deal when Tony just wanted to have fun (as part-time driver for KHI), and he brought Kid Rock along (as part-sponsor). He didn't want to do it at Gibbs, and he didn't want to do it himself. So we said maybe it's a good time to go Nationwide racing. And that evolved.
    "Same thing with the Truck program. I did it for fun (as driver). Then GM wanted to expand on the Truck program, and that led to full-time."
    And a potential Cup team? "I don't ever want to drive it," Harvick says flatly. "I think there's too much crossover for me from the driver/owner side.
    "I'm perfectly happy doing what I'm doing from the driver side (working for Childress), and I love that competitiveness.
    "I think that, in terms of facility (at KHI), we have the foundation laid to be able to do Cup.
    "But unless it's the right situation, with the manufacturer, and the sponsor, and everything is right from a sponsorship side, we won't venture down that path. Until that is right.
   "The foundation is laid to do what we would need to do from a Cup side. But it would have to be a no-brainer.
    "But I wouldn't be scared of it."

   Kevin Harvick is building an impressive NASCAR operation in Kernersville, NC, and could expand with a Sprint Cup team (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



If Harvick moves his team to

If Harvick moves his team to the Winston Cup level he'd better get out of the car and make sure the team is merged with a partner like Childress. The Cup level is way too big for him to handle car ownership at this level, as we've seen with all the mergers of teams the last few years.

no, I think kevin could

no, I think kevin could handle it; he has impressed me as a businessman, almost in a penske way (dont laugh). Kevin could do it just like the Big E did it, a M-Th business; he just has to make sure he puts the right man at the helm. Bobby Hutchens and that Harvard MBA and Darian Grubb and Tony Gibson, now that's a powerhouse lineup. Sure, Kevin would have to partner with Childress, but they're already partners in some ventures, and to be honest i'm surprised RC hasn't expanded into satellite operations like Hendrick and Roush have. That, of course, is something of what RC is doing with Chip Ganassi's deal (which is why keep an eye on JPM)....But, yes, running a Cup team is a big job -- too big, to be honest, for anyone in the sport. Look at hendrick's problems with Dale Jr (which may get worse before they get better); hendrick wanted to add some 'star power' to his lineup, but Dale Jr., bless his heart, is no Jimmie Johnson. But then Jeff Gordon is no Jimmie Johnson either. NASCAR should lay down the law and chop all these operations up into two-team operations, and let them mix-and-match bits and pieces as best they can, but massive operations, while they have economics of scale on the upside of the game, also have downside economics.....lean and mean.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com