KHI Heading for 300th Start

Kevin and Delana Harvick

Kevin and Delana Harvick run Kevin Harvick, Inc. (Photo: Getty Images)

When the Sam’s Town 300 takes the green flag at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, it will be a milestone day for Kevin Harvick, Inc. The race will mark the team’s 300th NASCAR Nationwide Series start.

Kevin Harvick was the original double-duty driver. His original 2001 plans were to run for the Nationwide Series championship, driving for Richard Childress. But after Dale Earnhardt’s death at Daytona, he added Cup Series duties to his job description. It would turn out to be a successful year, with his first Cup win, and the Nationwide Series crown. 

But 2001 would also be notable as the first time that Harvick’s own team would make its first appearance. Harvick drove his own Chevrolet truck to a runner-up finish in KHI’s first race at Richmond. After 21 starts and two wins in the Truck Series, Harvick and his wife, DeLana, decided to add a Nationwide Series car to their stable. 

On May, 29, 2004, Harvick’s name appeared on the Charlotte entry list, not as the 2001 series champion, but as the series’ newest team owner. Tony Stewart was at the wheel of the Kid Rock Chevy, and gave KHI its first top-five finish.

Since then, 21 different drivers have climbed into a KHI Chevy in Nationwide competition. Harvick returns to Las Vegas as the defending Sam’s Town 300 winner. And although he’s not eligible for the driver championship under NASCAR’s new point system, Harvick’s No. 33 team is a single point out of the owner point lead after a strong run in Phoenix.

"While we came out of Phoenix with a third-place finish that wasn't the result we were hoping for," Harvick said. "I think as a team we learned a lot about what we need to do to improve our downforce program, so I'm looking forward to getting back in the car at Las Vegas and to getting better results. The team has worked really hard but we still have work to do.

"I like racing at Las Vegas. It's a fun 1.5-mile track and we've had success there. We won this race last season with Rheem on board and it was cool to take them to victory lane. They're back on this No. 33 Chevrolet this weekend and I hope we can take them back to victory lane and get KHI back in victory lane."

KHI has more than one shot to take a Las Vegas win in its 300th start. Elliott Sadler will be behind the wheel of the Tapout Chevy as Harvick’s teammate. 

Saturday will be the first time that Sadler has driven a Nationwide car at Las Vegas in five years. He has qualified twice at this track before, but has yet to make it to Victory Lane in Nevada.

Even though his boss isn’t eligible for a Nationwide driver’s championship, Sadler is. But that’s not the top thing on his mind heading to Las Vegas.

"I really haven't given too much thought to it," Sadler says about the new point system. "Obviously, I know that I stand 15th in the driver point standings which is a big jump from where we were after Daytona.  But I just think it is too early to start making predictions and getting upset about points. I still think this system is a lot easier to figure out and understand where you end up, but it's a little early to start worrying. Right now we at KHI are focused on learning each other and continuing to build our program to run in the top three positions week in and week out."

Race Center

NASCAR Nationwide Series 250

@ Richmond Int'l Raceway
Friday, September 05, 2014 7:00 PM
Radio Start:
MRN, 7 p.m. (ET)
TV Start:
ESPN2, 7 p.m. (ET)

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