Delana Harvick: Gaining Respect, One Win at a Time

On Valentine’s Day, everybody thinks about the one that they love. NASCAR drivers are no different as most of them have that significant other that means a lot to them. Each week, us fans see them holding hands together on pit road before a race, sharing a moment before the driver goes to battle. However, there are some wives that find themselves in the spotlight more than others – such as Delana Harvick.

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignright” width=”226″][/media-credit]While most wives can be seen at the track looking fancy, dressed up, she shows up for ready for the day of racing. Wearing a firesuit that looks her husband’s, she can be seen on racedays taking down Kevin’s lap times on Sundays. She has mentioned on many occasions that she wears the firesuit for safety reasons as you never know what can happen on pit road.

On Saturdays, she can be seen running around, helping with keeping all things to do with Kevin Harvick Incorporated (KHI) in line at he track.

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She has found her way to the spotlight moreso than most wives through partly owning Kevin Harvick Incorporated and running daily operations, though also found herself in the middle of a feud last year.

At Pocono after Kevin Harvick spun Joey Logano and they had a scuffle on pit road, Logano released a quote that became the quote of the season in many people’s eyes.

“It’s probably not (Harvick’s fault),” Logano said. “His wife wears the firesuit in the family, tells him what to do, so it’s probably not his fault.”

Delana Harvick turned the quote on its tails as she raised money for the Kevin Harvick Foundation by selling t-shirts for $15 each that said, “I wear the t-shirt in the family.”

Delana Harvick knew racing way before her and Kevin got together as her father, John Paul Linville, was a driver in the Nationwide Series until 1995 and she’d be seen with him at the track. She used this time to learn more about the sport and in 1997, became a public relations representative for two-time Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie, among others. During that time, she met Kevin Harvick and they married on February 28th, 2001.

“Kevin and I are not only husband and wife, but we’re best friends and we’re business partners,” Delana is quoted on Answer This… “I look back at some of my boyfriends and I think ‘what would have happened if, what if?’ I don’t think I could have been as truly happy professionally and personally as I am. I think you’re just destined to meet that person and for me that was Kevin.”

The show NASCAR 360 in 2004 showed that type of love that they share between each other and how close it is. They are also known as a pair of pranksters, who are always trying to prank each other. On top of that, they are also business partners.

“He and I balance each other,” she says. “The racer in him says if something new comes available you’ve got to have it. But I’m the most frugal person you’ll meet. It’s like being married. What we do wouldn’t work for everybody. We’re together 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When people say you can’t bring work home with you, that’s never going to happen for us.”

With her professional background knowledge of racing and Kevin’s knowledge of the racing side, she helped Kevin build Kevin Harvick Incorporated and grow it to what it is today. 

“There’s no handbook on how to run your own race team,” she told the USA Today on the owning experience in late 2010. “It’s somewhat trial by fire. I think we’ve done a good job with it. We’ve definitely made mistakes. The good thing about the Nationwide and truck series is those mistakes aren’t multimillion-dollar mistakes. And we knew we were going to make mistakes. But we were willing to learn and take it slow. That’s the one thing I’m really proud of is that we didn’t try to burst on the scene and do all these things. We were really methodical about how we built KHI.”

Some of the mistakes she admits to making are how to correctly manage people.

“Learning the business side of the sport and trying to manage a sponsor’s needs,” she said. “Because if they’re not happy, it’s not enough to put the decal on their car. If they’re not happy overall, they’re not going to stay with you. Early on, we had some sponsors come in, and I don’t think we did the best job in helping them figure out that motor sports was a good fit for them. But I’m actually proud that a lot of the sponsors we’ve had for a couple of years stayed with us. I think we’ve learned how to be really serviceable when it comes to that side of the business. That doesn’t come with a manual. That comes with learning and making mistakes.”

Since it’s humble beginnings in 2001, they have built it to be one of the top organizations in both the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series. They have won two truck series championships with Ron Hornaday and over 30 wins between the two divisions.

This year marks another key year for KHI as they have Elliott Sadler lined up to drive their Nationwide Series car all year, along with Hornaday and new driver Nelson Piquet Jr. in the Camping World Truck Series. Add in some one-off races that they have planned for  Tony Stewart, Harvick, and Austin Dillon, this year could easily equal to be a multi-championship, multi-win season. Is the Sprint Cup Series coming in the future though?

“People ultimately think Cup racing is in our future,” she said. “We’ll never say never. It could be. I think we’ve really laid the foundation. I think we could do it. It would have to be right time, right place, right sponsor. Ultimately we don’t have to be Sprint Cup team owners to be successful in the sport. Ultimately that’s probably to our benefit. That may not always get us in trouble. People come in and automatically think we’ve got to be in the Sprint Cup Series. We don’t. We want to be successful in what we do and contribute to the sport.

“If the time comes that we can do that in the Sprint Cup Series, we’ll look at it. The only thing we’ve ever wanted from KHI is to be able to sustain itself. I think anybody that goes into business for themselves and thinks they won’t have to invest a lot of their own money is probably kidding themselves. KHI can sustain itself at this point. I’m proud we’ve gotten to that point. For us, it’s not something we look at to generate income. It’d be great if it did. But we’re happy just being involved and being a part of it.”

With the success of KHI, Delana Harvick has gained a lot of respect in the garage that has many followers of NASCAR respecting her for what she’s been able to accomplish.

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