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Kevin Harvick snubs NASCAR-Dana White collab—Is he right to reject the politics behind it?

Ever since Dana White, the UFC President, revealed his secret alliance with NASCAR to develop an electric series vehicle, there has been significant buzz around the EV prototype. NASCAR had initially planned to unveil the project, which had been kept under wraps, at the 2024 Busch Light Clash. However, weather constraints forced them to postpone the reveal.

Instead, the Chicago Street Race became the chosen platform for showcasing the EV racecar. While this marks a major achievement for NASCAR, Kevin Harvick remains skeptical about the shift to all-electric vehicles. His doubts?

EVs could replace the traditional gas-guzzling stock cars, and Harvick criticizes the move as politically motivated, suggesting it’s an attempt to cater to car manufacturers.

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Why doesn’t Kevin Harvick see NASCAR going the EV route?

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The true essence of NASCAR racing stems from the roar of the combustible engine and the rumbling of the stock whizzing past speeds of more than 150 mph. But with the changing dynamics of the modern era of racing and other forces, NASCAR is looking to introduce sustainable racing. And by 2035, they have pledged to cut their emissions by “net zero.” On July 6, during the Chicago Street Race weekend, NASCAR and ABB announced the ABB NASCAR Electrification Innovation Partnership revealed a new EV prototype at the Chicago Street Race.

Although this was seen as a bold move on NASCAR’s part to unveil its prototype EV race car, the prototype that was developed in collaboration with NASCAR’s OEM partners—Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota—was even showcased on the Chicago weekend. And clearly, Kevin Harvick isn’t a fan of this project.

Taking a stern stand against it, Harvick explained why NASCAR was forced into going electric. “I think the electric race car in itself, I think that scenario is probably a little bit political with the manufacturers and just where NASCAR as a whole and trying to put that electric vehicle together.” He said this via the Happy Hour Podcast.

He further opined that manufacturers are not keen on adding an EV racecar to their roster with its declining trend. “I think manufacturers, at one point, were like, Hey, each of us will build three of them, we’ll put on some exhibition races, and when the EV thing went away, the manufacturers are like, Hey, we’re not going to do that anymore. Thanks, but no thanks, and now NASCAR is stuck with this electric vehicle … There’s nothing about a race car that doesn’t make noise that has any excitement for me.”

However, veteran driver David Ragan, who considers himself to be a traditional fan, was left in awe of the new electric race car, as he took a look at it in Chicago. Even urging the fans to broaden their perspective regarding the idea of new advancements in racing technology.

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David Ragan is looking to rally behind NASCAR’s sustainable cause

Taking the wheels behind the ABB NASCAR EV prototype, Ragan just might have a feel for what future racing will be like. The veteran driver has been the test driver for NASCAR’s battery electric vehicle, but he was in the spotlight after test-driving the car on the streets of Chicago. It was obvious that people wanted to know what he felt like driving the car and how it compared to combustion-powered race cars.

Now the hardcore NASCAR fans haven’t been open to the mere idea of the stock cars being turned into a mute ride. Despite that, Ragan urged fans to accept the change and evolution that NASCAR is going through. “I do have some guys text me and say, I’m just not the EV guy. That’s a nice-looking car, but it’s not for me. Then I have some people text me, Man, that’s really cool! I can’t wait to look at it. I’m as big of a traditional NASCAR fan and motorsports enthusiast, as they come. I’m an old-school guy. I encourage all those race fans that are old school, like some of my friends, to give it a shot and enjoy it for what it is,” he revealed to NASCAR insider Bob Pockrass.

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USA Today via Reuters

This isn’t the only project NASCAR is working on, as an alternate fuel option by the year 2028 is also on the cards that could change the sport as we know it today. But again, how quickly these new changes will be accepted by the fans remains to be seen.