Model Behavior

So Kevin Harvick donated the hood from that fateful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race to raise money for a worthwhile charity.

What are we to make of that? Was that merely a self-serving move designed to make him look good? Or does Harvick genuinely care?

Odd argument, isn’t it? But it’s one of those crazy side issues that comes with the crazy season he’s had in 2002. If Harvick was winning and staying out of trouble, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Then again, Harvick was the guy who got himself in trouble at Martinsville Speedway.

OK, let’s back up a little bit (Harvick should be used to backing up – he’s 30th in the Winston Cup points standings. Doh!).

You remember Harvick, don’t you? The guy who stormed onto the racing scene last year by winning two races as the unfortunate guy who followed Dale Earnhardt? What’s happened to him?

He’s been conspicuous by his absence at the front of the field. No one really knows what’s gone wrong this season, but it’s been such a plummet that car owner Richard Childress switched Harvick’s team with Robby Gordon’s.

Meanwhile, Harvick got in trouble at Martinsville by spinning out Coy Gibbs, for which NASCAR parked him for the next day’s Winston Cup race. It was a stunning blow to Harvick, and you can bet there’s not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about it.

Has Harvick changed? Has he become a kindler, gentler Harvick?

The answer reminds me of a story about my dad. Back when he worked in a hardware store, there was a product sold there that promised to keep birds out of gardens. A customer asked my dad if the contraption worked, and my dad responded without hesitation.

“You don’t see no damn birds in here, do you?”

So if you wonder if Harvick has changed, ask yourself this: “You don’t see no damn trouble with Harvick, do you?”

And maybe that should also answer the question about Harvick and the sincerity of his intentions. The hood from his truck was auctioned off on his website, and a Susan Bunce of New York made the winning bid of $4,500, we’re told.

That money went to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I didn’t want to see the hood of my truck from Martinsville thrown to the side or just reused when I knew I could do something good with it,” Harvick said. “I figured people collect so many things, and this would be something someone would want. I figured it’d be a good deal, just to auction it off on the website and give the money to St. Jude’s.”

What does Harvick get for auctioning the hood? A few hits on his website and a some goodwill. But children at St. Jude’s might get a little more help. Forget Harvick’s intention’s for a second. Wouldn’t anything anyone can do for a hurting child be of benefit?

“They not only help kids, but they help to find a cure,” Harvick said of the hospital. “One of the things that shows St. Jude’s dedication is they treat people with no thought as to whether they can afford the treatment. St. Jude’s operates mostly on donations. Anything I can do to drum up support for them is worth it.”

The kids at St. Jude’s probably think so. Who are we to criticize him? Yes, it’s been a difficult season for Harvick. Yet, you haven’t seen him explode, you haven’t seen him wreck anyone and you haven’t seen him publicly criticize his team.

I’d say Martinsville did change him.

“You don’t see no damn birds in here, do you?”

Staff Writer Lee Montgomery can be reached at

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