Kevin Harvick Ready To Race SK Modified At Stafford Motor Speedway

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series star Kevin Harvick takes a selfie with a fan Thursday at Foxwoods Resort Casino

MASHANTUCKET – Former NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick offered the words with a confident certainty when asked about competing in a feature at some point at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“I’m going to race there in something,” Harvick said Thursday while at Foxwoods Resort Casino to announce the branding of the July 22 Monster Energy Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the Foxwoods Resort 301.

Harvick has become a part of the landscape at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2018 with the introduction of a contingency sponsor award in his name for the SK Modified division in memory of Ted Christopher.

In each SK Modified race this season, Harvick awards $125 to the leader of the 13th lap and $125 to the 13th place finish. Christopher, the track’s all-time winningest driver who was killed in a plane crash last September, ran No. 13 throughout his career at Stafford.

After a Monster Energy Cup Series event in March Harvick and his team owner Tony Stewart spent time talking about the need for the top levels of NASCAR to give back to the grass roots short tracks. Not long after, through the help of Stafford Speedway management and longtime Stafford competitor and now XFINITY Series driver Ryan Preece, the Harvick sponsored contingency program was introduced.

In 2001 Harvick landed full-time in the Monster Energy Cup Series, replacing Dale Earnhardt Sr. with Richard Childress racing a week after Earnhardt was killed in the Daytona 500. The 43-year old Harvick, a Bakersfield, Calif. native, climbed the ranks of NASCAR through the regional short track ladder.

“I think as far as Stafford itself and the SK Modifieds and the contingency program that we were able to put together in honor of Ted Christopher, really the race track was the one’s that are responsible for that,” Harvick said. “And obviously Ryan [Preece] was a big part of that as well. For us, it’s been very impactful and I think when you look at the purses that they’re able to present on a weekly business and the environment that they give their racers and just some casual notoriety that we’ve been able to help bring to the [track] is really … supporting the local short track racers is really what we want to do.

“It’s not giving them millions of dollars. It’s really about just showing them that you care, showing them that we’re watching. The contingency program was a rather inexpensive way to get involved. That’s a thing that a lot of people don’t understand. There’s very small ways that you can make a very big impact to our short track racing communities that people have kind of lost sight of. Those are the types of things that we’re just trying to bring back awareness to and I think it’s had a big effect.”

Since the announcement on March 23 of the contingency program at Stafford rumors have swirled the Harvick would compete in an SK Modified event at the track this year.

Thursday at Foxwoods he joked that it wasn’t his decision to make.

“We are going back-and-forth of whether we are going to run that [SK] Modified, it will be fun to see it progress,” Harvick said. “Most of all you’re going to have to convince my wife to make that happen. I am all in.”

Harvick did say that scheduling issues could make it tough to happen in 2018.

“For me, we always plan our year usually the winter before so right now I’m having trouble convincing everybody that we need to put something on the calendar,” Harvick said. “… It’s just a matter of when and trying to put it in the schedule so that it makes sense. I just don’t know that I’m going to be able to get to it this year.

“Really all this started from just a casual conversation with Ryan Preece. He kind of threw it out there to run the Modified. And honestly that would be fun. … It’s experiencing something that you haven’t done before. I think when you look at the history of Stafford Motor Speedway and the drivers that have come through that particular race track, that’s very intriguing for me personally.”

While competing for Joe Gibbs Racing with the XFINITY Series over the last two seasons, Preece, of Berlin, has developed a relationship with Harvick. Preece is competing in 10 events this season with the XFINITY Series and also running full-time with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and full-time in an SK Modified at Thompson Speedway. He expects to be making his first SK Modified start of the season at Stafford tomorrow.

“He works really hard and that’s the thing that I think a lot of people don’t realize about Ryan is just the fact that he’s a true blue hardcore racer, top to bottom,” Harvick said. “And that’s what he wants to do, loves to do. And all the time you see him on TV out on the race track, those are just the few times that he’s not in the shop working on those Modifieds. Their his babies. He has put a lot of effort into his racing career, but he still continues to put a lot of effort into his racing career on a day to day basis by hands on actions in the shop.”

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Comments

  1. Harvick in an SK, say no more, I’m there

  2. tony gaga says:

    if its not a fixed race i bet he gets his a** kicked

  3. Stuart Fearn says:

    I have a very good Late Model if he wants some fenders

  4. hes a driver not a public spoke person or paid advertiser like the rest of the cup drivers, hell do fine in a car with huge grip. If he does race ill be there. Win or lose for him its huge for the sk division if hes involved.

  5. Put him in a Kid Rock SK and he will finish in the top 5 !!! Bring Tony Stewart and it will make it real interesting. Honestly, we need more Cup drivers to get involved local short track racing.

  6. I saw on twitter the Rufrano family (Wheelers Auto) offered him an SK, lit ooked like their Thompson car.

  7. NH Mark says:

    Tony Stewart smoked the SK field at Thompson when he last did it. You are crazy to think Harvick and/or Stewart won’t do it at Stafford. They are very best at what they do.

  8. If it’s a Rufrano car, or maybe a skworya car, Kevin will place top 5. Maybe Qinn Christopher has a car for him. That would be cool seeing the guy who created a bonus system to honor TC in a car fielded by the Christopher family. And to the bonehead who suggested that the race may be rigged, stop smoking whatever it is your smoking. Nobody is going to rollover and throw a race, just the opposite because everyone is going to want to be able to say they beat Kevin Harvick.

  9. Harvick clearly is the man these days locally and nationally and we all love that for sure. But winning is 95% car and 5% driver or something like that. With the Stafford weekly modified running best laps within .04 seconds for the first 10 cars getting a good car is critical. If they want to juice it up a little bit since it’s more about the show then anything else fine with me.
    He might be better served in a Fearn Late Model. Heck offer Tom’s car since he’s running .10 plus seconds faster then anyone else and let Tom run a back up. A back up you can bet will be great. Say Harvick racing in an SK’s is a conflict of interest or sum such thing with the bonus and all. Him being there is the thing. Not putting himself in harms way in the ultra competitive 27 car Stafford modified field that will no doubt be a plus one with Preece where he may do well or get eaten alive.

  10. Nh mark that car was also way cheated up and didn’t go through tech either its not that he couldn’t do the job but as the car that literally started side by side with him i would of liked to see him in a legal car

  11. In a very illegal car …tonybis good no doubt but I wish he would been legal

  12. The Real Deal says:

    @Modman you must be smoking something not yet legal in CT. Did you see Tony Stewart at NHIS in the Chase Motorsports car sponsored by one of the CT casinos several years ago? Tony would have smoked the field except for Jerry Marquis running him off the trackon the back stretch in the final laps. Tony schooled the WMT boys using lanes no other WMT could use or has learned to use since. Tony can wheel anything without needing a cheated up car.

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