NASCAR: Kevin Harvick’s one-race suspension costs him a record

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

With Kevin Harvick retiring after the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series, his single-race suspension has officially cost him an all-time record.

2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, who announced before the 2023 season began that it would be his 23rd and final season of Cup Series competition, has missed just one race since making his Cup Series debut as the replacement for Dale Earnhardt at Richard Childress Racing following Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

That one missed race came in April 2002, when he was suspended for the Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway due to his actions in the Truck Series race the day prior, actions which included him intentionally causing a collision with Coy Gibbs. Harvick’s suspension marked the first time a driver had been forced to miss a race since 1978.

Harvick has made 797 career Cup Series starts, including 42 before the incident. He entered the 2023 season having competed in 790 total races and 748 consecutive races, the latter of which good for third place on the all-time list.

By the end of the 2023 season, assuming Harvick competes in all 36 races, that number will be 784, which would still be good for third place on the all-time list. Jeff Gordon holds the record with 797, with Ricky Rudd close behind at 788.

Following the 2023 season’s seventh race, Kevin Harvick’s suspension has officially cost him that all-time NASCAR Cup Series record.

While it happened more than two decades ago, that suspension ultimately broke up two streaks which, combined, would have created the all-time record for consecutive Cup Series starts.

Had Harvick not missed that race, he would have entered the 2023 season with 791 career starts, all in a row. Seven races into the 2023 season, that number would be 798, which would top Gordon’s record.

Instead, following Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway, the number is 755, since Harvick has only competed in 797 races and missed what would have been his 43rd start nearly 21 years ago.

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Harvick is set to make his 756th consecutive start in this coming Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET, so if you have not yet done so, begin a free trial of FuboTV now!