NASCAR: Fox’s decision hinted Kevin Harvick’s retirement

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

Fox’s early decision to do what they had done since the start of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season was the first hint that Kevin Harvick would be retiring.

2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick announced before the start of the 2023 season that he would be retiring when it ended in early November, ending a 23-year run in the series and a 10-year run behind the wheel of Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 car.

Harvick, who is the oldest full-time driver in the Cup Series at 47 years of age, was not shy during last offseason about the fact that he was indeed contemplating retirement.

Shortly after announcing his retirement, the Bakersfield, California native confirmed a new landing spot for 2024, and it’s one that many had long felt made sense for him: the Fox Sports broadcast booth.

Harvick, who has demonstrated his ability to call races on multiple occasions in the Truck Series and the Xfinity Series, is set to join the current full-time duo of lead announcer Mike Joy and analyst Clint Bowyer, a former Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, next year.

When you consider Fox’s approach since Jeff Gordon left, Kevin Harvick’s NASCAR retirement was a move for which they were clearly planning.

Gordon spent six years in the booth after retiring from full-time Cup Series competition following the 2015 season, but he left after the network’s portion of the 2021 broadcast schedule to focus on his new role as Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports.

Fox had two options: revert to a two-person booth, as they did in 2020 with Joy and Gordon after Darrell Waltrip’s retirement (while Bowyer was still driving), or replace Gordon with somebody new.

They compromised.

In 2022, there were still three announcers in the booth for any given Cup Series race on Fox or Fox Sports 1, but they rotated several different individuals in and out of that third spot, including former NASCAR drivers such as Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, and Danica Patrick.

When they announced their intention to take the same approach again in 2023 and not commit to a single individual for the third spot, it became relatively clear that they were anticipating Harvick’s retirement so that he could become that third announcer in 2024 and beyond.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

Now the next time the NASCAR Cup Series is set to be in action, Harvick is indeed set to be in the booth. The preseason exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 4, with the official season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway scheduled to take place the week after the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 18. Fox is set to provide live coverage of both races.