THROWBACK: Kevin Harvick Stuns Jeff Gordon in One of the Most Thrilling Finishes in NASCAR

Published 03/13/2021, 7:00 AM EST
PHOENIX, AZ – NOVEMBER 09: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)


Back in 2001, Kevin Harvick won his first ever NASCAR Cup race in a spectacular fashion. At the time, he was battling with Jeff Gordon for the race win. Needless to say, the rookie driver was going hammer and tongs with the then three-time Cup champion. On the final lap, the two drivers were wheel-to-wheel and Harvick won by mere inches.

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Needless to say, the Richard Childress Racing team were ecstatic. Just six thousands of a second separated the #29 and #24 cars. In fact, a similar situation took place between Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt. Speaking of Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick paid tribute to the recently departed NASCAR legend in Victory Lane.

He said, “As everybody knows, this is going to be pretty difficult for all of us. None of us expected this so soon. In the unfortunate circumstances, all I can say is, this one’s for Dale.”

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Kevin Harvick has come a long way since then

Admittedly, Harvick probably had one of the toughest debuts in the sport. When Dale Earnhardt left the mortal realm, the Richard Childress Racing team drafted him as his successor. For a rookie driver to take the place of such a legendary driver would have been an insanely daunting task.

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Feb 28, 2021; Homestead, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) races during the Dixie Vodka 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, the driver managed to make his own indelible mark in the sport. He started it off when he engaged in a massive dogfight with Jeff Gordon and barely prevailed at Atlanta. Nevertheless, he still fended off the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

Harvick spent a long time in the Richard Childress Racing stable, before moving at the end of 2013. From 2014 onwards, he took over the reins of the #4 Stewart-Haas Racing car. In his very first season, he won the Cup Series title, bagging five wins that season. Since then, he was in the top five in the championship in every season, except for the 2016 season, where he finished eighth.

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Dhruv George

11629 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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