NASCAR Cup Series drivers will not be able to compete in Xfinity Series races after this weekend at Indianapolis, but Kevin Harvick says he’s done with the series for the foreseeable future anyway.
The two-time Xfinity Series champion said earlier this week on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Show “Happy Hours” that the Sept. 1 race at Darlington was his last scheduled appearance. Harvick will focus on his No. 4 Ford team at Stewart-Haas Racing instead of splitting time between the garages.
“I feel like with the two-day schedules, and my family and all of the things that came up this year just because of the way the schedules worked out and the races I chose, I just need to focus on my Cup car and the things that are happening there,” Harvick said.
“It’s not to say that I won’t run here or there if we have a sponsor or somebody who needs something, or there’s a new racetrack that’s intriguing. But for me, there’s no more planned Xfinity races.”
Harvick has run 346 Xfinity Series races since 1999 with 47 career wins, including one this season. Driving a second SHR car in the series, Harvick won at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February. He also competed at Texas, Michigan, Chicago, and Darlington, where he had a highly-publicized run-in with Ross Chastain as the two battled for the lead.
Darlington had a tight schedule for drivers running both series. The Friday afternoon practice sessions went back and forth between an Xfinity session to a Cup session, back to Xfinity and then Cup. There were only 10 minutes between the end of one practice and the start of another.
“I needed to be in the Cup hauler with Rodney [Childers, crew chief] and those guys making sure that my car was 100 percent dialed in between practices,” Harvick continued. “For me, there’s really no reason to go out and run the Xfinity races with the way the schedules have become in order to get the most out of my Cup car.”
The 2006 season was the last time Harvick ran a full Xfinity Series schedule in addition to his Cup schedule. He has made limited starts – with the number decreasing over the years – since then.
NASCAR also limits the number of starts a Cup Series driver can make in the Xfinity Series. This year it was lowered from 10 to seven races if the driver has more than five years of full-time experience, which Harvick has.
However, NASCAR also ruled that drivers earning Cup Series points no matter the experience level will not be eligible to compete in the Xfinity Series regular-season finale (Sept. 15 at Las Vegas) or any of the playoff races. That makes Saturday afternoon at Indianapolis the last Xfinity Series race this season with a Cup Series driver presence.