No, Kevin Harvick is not returning to ownership in the NASCAR Truck Series.
He prefers to say he will “dabble in it.”
When Joe Denette Motorsports and NTS Motorsports announced their plans last month to merge into a three-truck program for 2013, there was a mostly unnoticed – and unpublicized – addition to the new organization.
It was mentioned in the news release that Harvick would run two races in the No. 24. What it didn’t say was the role Harvick – who with wife, DeLana, fielded Truck teams from 2002 to 2011 – would have with the team.
“Kevin has offered a lot of information to us, whether on the telephone in the evening or whatever the case. Kevin’s going to maintain his personal office at the race shop, so he’ll be there day-in and day-out and he’ll see what’s going on,” said Bob Newberry, owner of NTS Motorsports
“He’s been around the racing enough, and he’s the king when it comes to trucks, in my opinion, and for him just to go down there and take a look, peek around – in 10 minutes, he can tell you what it takes most people a week to try to figure out.
“The guy’s just really intuitive.”
So, what is best way to describe Harvick’s new role in the series?
Perhaps “advisor” is best.
Harvick will get to enjoy the benefits of ownership without the financial obligations. He also will get the chance at running with a competitive program.
“It will allow me to be at home and have stuff in the shop and look at it, walk in at night like I used to and look around and make sure everything is going the way I think it should go,” said Harvick, who already was leasing space at Kevin Harvick Inc. to the JDM organization.
“Bob has a lot going on out West, and hopefully we can get it up and running to the point where he doesn’t have to do anything but come to the races and the shop on occasion.”
Newberry and Harvick are from Bakersfield, Calif., and they first met during 2008. Harvick has served as sort of a mentor of Newberry’s son, Brennan, who will drive the No. 24 fulltime for NTS.
Series veteran Ron Hornaday will continue to drive the No. 9 as he did for JDM. Hornaday won two of four Truck championships while driving for Harvick.
“Bob has been talking to Kevin on some of the stuff – how to run the business to be successful and some of the mistakes that Kevin made so that we don’t have to go down that path,” Hornaday said.
“They speak rather frequently on how to run the business and mainly how to run the competition side of it.”
While the new NTS organization – Harvick included – hasn’t had much time to prepare for the Feb. 22 Truck series opener at Daytona International Speedway, most of the pieces and people can be traced to the old KHI.
“It’s exciting for the Truck series for someone to come in with the enthusiasm and effort they’re going to put in,” Harvick said of the NTS organization.
“That’s really right back to the number of truck teams (three) that we had when we shut the shop down, so that’s a good thing.”