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'All I've ever wanted to do is race': Kevin Harvick to retire after 2023 season

Kevin Harvick announced Thursday that he will retire from NASCAR competition at the end of the 2023 season.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver who was thrust into the spotlight as Dale Earnhardt's replacement in 2001, announced he will retire from full-time competition at the end of 2023. 

The 47-year-old driver made the news official Thursday after speculation swirled on social media earlier this week. In 790 starts in NASCAR's top series, Harvick has 60 victories, 245 top fives and 430 top-10 finishes. He also has two Xfinity Series championships.

Harvick has missed just one race in 22 years and has started every Cup Series race since April 2002. 

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"All I've ever wanted to do is race," Harvick said in his announcement. "I've called NASCAR's premier series my home for the last 22 years. I've seen a lot, I've done a lot and I'm grateful for the opportunity."

Harvick debuted in the NASCAR Truck Series in the late 90s, but made a name for himself when he joined Richard Childress Racing in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2000. Harvick won three times and was among several drivers who would lead the sport into the 21st century and heights it had never seen. 

His time to join the top series came early with the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt. Sporting a new white No. 29 Chevy, Harvick helped heal the hearts of race fans everywhere with a victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway, edging out Jeff Gordon in a photo finish in only his third start. With that emotional victory, a star was born, as Harvick went on to win 59 more times through last season. 

Credit: AP
Kevin Harvick raises his trophy as he celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship series in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/David Graham)

The California native joined Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, teaming with crew chief Rodney Childers after spending his entire career to that point with Richard Childress Racing. The partnership produced a championship in its first season with Harvick becoming a dominant force with the No. 4 team. 

Harvick hasn't said what the next chapter will be, but it's been speculated that he could join FOX Sports as a broadcaster. The only thing that is for sure about Harvick is he's ready to dedicate more time to his family and with friends. 

"Come November, when the checkered flag drops on the season finale in Phoenix, it will be my final race as a NASCAR Cup Series driver," Harvick said. "It's time to call time, to enjoy all that we've achieved as a race team and savor it with the ones who have made this journey possible.

"A new chapter is calling, one where being a dad and being a husband take precedence over being a driver."

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