Clint Bowyer has been running at the finish of 80 consecutive Sprint Cup series races (that's him, not finishing, left). Yawn. Bowyer's streak leads all active drivers and is just one -- just one! -- behind the record held by his teammate, Kevin Harvick. Yeah, whatever.
So, Kevin Harvick"blows an engine" at California, wrecks his car, and leaves the track before the race is complete. In so doing, he crapped all over his modern-era record of 81-straight races without a DNF. No one bats an eye or questions his dedication to the team or the sport. Fallout? Not a bit. Indignation? None. About all anyone can do is say Gee, isn't that a shame about Kevin's streak?
Kevin Harvick started his racing career in 1995 driving a family-owned entry in the newly-formed Camping World Truck series. Harvick did better than some and worse than others, but such is the story of any hungry driver moving up through the ranks.
His "big break" came in 2000 when he signed with Richard Childress Racing to drive the No. 2 AC Delco Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series. He performed quite well, gathering three wins, a third place finish in points and Rookie of The Year honors.
An even bigger break came in 2001 as the result of the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt. Richard Childress tapped Harvick to replace Earnhardt, and his Sprint Cup career was officially underway. He surprised everyone by winning in his third career start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in one of the closest and most spectacular finishes ever.
Harvick has accumulated more wins since his stunning victory in Atlanta, including a dramatic Daytona 500 win in 2007. When you look at what other drivers such as Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch have done in a shorter time span, Harvick's record is less than stellar. In fact, Harvick has not scored a win since 2007. However, Harvick is a highly skilled and competitive driver and not all of then blame rests with him.
In any business environment where a juggernaut soaks up most of the success, some of the smaller operations are going to get trampled. Hendrick Motorsports did to NASCAR what Wal-Mart has done to the retail business - they have broken down and scattered their competitors to the four winds, and even the once-powerful Richard Childress Racing team was affected.
Harvick earned the nickname "Happy" early in his career for his winning "nice-guy" personality... but Happy Harvick has a dark side. When he gets really pissed, he's not shy about taking names or kicking asses. Harvick has had more runs-ins with NASCAR personalities than Tony Stewart and the Busch brothers combined. Here's small sampling of the drivers Harvick has tangled with: Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, and Carl Edwards. Now let's examine the video evidence:
Harvick was married to his wife DeLena in 2001, just two days after his Sprint Cup debut. They have three dogs and two cats.