Kevin Harvick gets assist from son Keelan for Michigan win

Jerry Bonkowski

Sunday wasn’t just another win for Kevin Harvick.

He got to share in a special victory celebration with 7-year-old son Keelan. First off, Keelan met his father on pit road and rode in the car as Harvick did a burnout. Keelan then went to the flag stand to retrieve the checkered flag.

That led to the elder Harvick telling how Keelan brought Harvick’s checkered flag from winning at Michigan last August for the weekend trip to the Wolverine State.

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“I had to go to an appearance, so he met me in Dearborn and we went to the Tigers game on Thursday night, and we got back to the bus and the flag was in there, and I’m like, ‘Why in the world did you bring the flag?’ And he’s like, ‘It’s got to be good luck. We need to take two flags home.”

And that’s just what father and son did Sunday, knowing just how special the day beyond yet another race win.

“For me as a dad, it’s probably the coolest thing that you could ever do,” Kevin Harvick said. “This is my job, and a lot of people don’t realize how family oriented NASCAR racing really is. He comes with me all summer, same thing we’ve done for the past few years, and this year we didn’t wreck any golf carts or tear anything up at the golf course, so we just played golf. He still drove, but we didn’t crash.

“For me it’s making those memories, and to be able to do that with him. Heck, he may never get to do a donut in his life or hear 40,000, 50,000 people screaming and yelling, and that enthusiasm of the excitement from the crowd. Those are neat experiences that most kids don’t get to experience, but most kids’ dads don’t race cars, and for me to be able to share that with him is pretty neat, and for NASCAR to let us do that and make those memories is also pretty awesome.”

As Kevin Harvick prepared to walk out of his motor coach to stroll to his car prior to Sunday’s race, Keelan said, “Hey, if we win today, I get to ride in the car again.’ I said, ‘Absolutely. You just make your way to pit road and we’ll figure it out.’ We stepped it up a little today. We were able to do a straight-line burnout and a donut. And I made him put my helmet on in case he flew out the side there and into the roll bars. That was pretty cool. … Those are proud cool dad moments, so it’s pretty awesome.”

But there was one line that dear old dad drew in the sand. Keelan wanted to spray his father with Gatorade in the post-race victory celebration.

No way was that happening, the elder Harvick said.

“He (Keelan) loves Gatorade, so we were standing in Victory Lane, and I saw the Gatorade,” Harvick said. “I said, look, you can have some Gatorade, but if you spray one drop of that on me, you’re going to be in trouble because it’s sticky.”

To which Keelan replied, “You’re already sticky.”

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