NASCAR: Kevin Harvick just moved closer to breaking a record

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

News about Kevin Harvick’s return to both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Truck Series moves him closer to breaking an all-time record.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick is set to make his first Xfinity Series appearance since the 2018 season and his first Truck Series appearance since the 2015 season later this year.

He is slated to compete in the Xfinity Series races at Circuit of the Americas, Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday, May 22; Saturday, July 3 and Saturday, August 14 for Stewart-Haas Racing.

He is also set to compete in the Truck Series race on dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 27 for David Gilliland Racing.

As a result of these additions to his schedule, Harvick is set to break an all-time record earlier than anticipated.

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Harvick entered the 2021 season having competed in more races across the three NASCAR national series (Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series) than all but one other driver, having just passed the legendary Richard Petty for second place on the list in the penultimate race of the 2020 Cup Series season at Martinsville Speedway.

The 45-year-old Bakersfield, California native entered the season with 1,187 starts under his belt, including 718 Cup Series starts, 346 Xfinity Series starts and 123 Truck Series starts.

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That mark was 10 shy of the all-time record, which is held by Joe Nemechek. Nemechek has competed in the sport on some level for 32 straight seasons.

He broke what was Petty’s record of 1,185 with his 1,186th career start in the 2019 Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and then went on to compete in the Xfinity Series season finale and Cup Series season finale at the same venue.

He then competed in eight Truck Series races and one Truck Series race in 2020, bringing him to 1,197 career starts (674 Cup Series starts, 453 Xfinity Series starts and 70 Truck Series starts)

Nemechek has not yet competed in any races this season, although he attempted to compete in the season-opening Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway but failed to qualify. It is believed that he could compete in select races for Mike Harmon Racing in the Xfinity Series, but as of now, nothing is confirmed.

Harvick, meanwhile, has clawed ever closer to Nemechek’s record, having competed in the first four races of the Cup Series season to get to 722 career Cup Series starts and 1,191 career NASCAR starts, six shy of the record.

That would have put him on pace to tie the record at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 25 and break the record at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, May 2, provided Nemechek didn’t end up competing in any races in the meantime.

But with his new scheduled Truck Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway, he is now slated to tie the record on Sunday, April 18 before breaking it at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 25.

His three additional Xfinity Series starts should help him further distance himself from what would become second place on the all-time starts list. If all things go as currently planned, he will be at 1,227 career starts by the end of the 2021 season.

The closest active full-time driver behind Harvick is Kyle Busch, who has competed in 574 Cup Series races, 357 Xfinity Series races and 156 Truck Series races (1,087 total). Busch is just 35 years old and regularly competes in as many Xfinity Series races and Truck Series races as he is allowed to, along with his full Cup Series schedule.

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Busch trails only Nemechek, Harvick, Petty and Mark Martin (1,143) on the all-time NASCAR national series starts list.