Kevin Harvick Explains Reasons Behind KHI Merger With Richard Childress Racing

Kevin Harvick Inc. will cease to exist in its current form following this season, team co-owner Kevin Harvick said Friday at Richmond International Raceway.

KHI announced Wednesday it was moving its Nationwide Series teams to run under the Richard Childress Racing banner at the RCR shop, but Harvick revealed more about his future plans in a Friday news conference at the track.

The actual KHI organization will revert back to its original purpose – handling Harvick's personal brand and business – and the team will sell off its remaining assets and race shop.

"The only part of (the racing portion of KHI) that will still exist will operate out of RCR," Harvick said. "There won't be anything racing-wise operating out of our shop."

That means the end of KHI's championship-winning Truck Series teams. Harvick hinted he plans to sell off his current trucks to another organization, but wasn't ready to reveal their fate yet.

Harvick said there were a multitude of reasons he and wife DeLana – who owns the team with her husband – decided to move the Nationwide teams to RCR and close up shop.

Some of the primary factors:

Nationwide cars are so much like Sprint Cup Series cars now that it didn't make sense to build them as an independent team.

"(It's) become very difficult for a standalone team to make all the things right that need to be right to keep up with the Cup(-affiliated) teams," Harvick said. "You have to be in a Cup shop. That's just the unfortunate part about where we are with the processes and things that come with the Nationwide car. From a performance standpoint, I feel like we will be better with the Cup people and technology and things in the shop."

The Truck Series is enjoyable, but it's a "tough model business-wise."

"The Truck Series is a great series; it's a lot of fun," Harvick said. "I'd love to continue driving some races in the Truck Series as we move forward. It's just a point where we needed to make some decisions from a business standpoint.

"There was no financial issue; we were making it all work. But sometimes, you feel like you've just got to get something out of it. We were winning races and loved to be a part of that, but in the end, it's a business."

Harvick wants to focus on winning a Cup championship, not team ownership.

"In the end, really the only thing I want to do that we haven't been able to accomplish in my career is win a Cup championship," he said. "Cup cars make it all go around. Without the Cup car being successful on Sunday, Trucks don't exist, Nationwide cars don't exist and the sponsors aren't there. ... That Cup championship is what we're after."

Because of the reasons listed above, Harvick said the decision to give up some control of his Nationwide program and jettison the Truck teams was a "relatively easy process."

"It really hasn't been as taxing or as crazy mentally of a decision as you would think it would be," he said, "just from the fact you see all these positives that have bloomed out of these conversations."

Despite the merger being a months-long process, Harvick said it was important to him that the deal was completed Wednesday. He told his 140 employees the news on Wednesday afternoon – which is why he skipped the White House visit – and worked throughout the day to wrap up the details.

While the early notice gives his employees and opportunity to start looking for other jobs – there will be positions at RCR for some of them – it also allowed Harvick to gain some peace of mind before the Chase began.

"This was as far as it could get pushed, because this is the most important part of the season coming up," he said. "I needed to sit here today and answer all these questions and set the record straight and we needed to have everything done and I needed to go into the last 10 weeks with a one-track mind, and that's to run that Cup car as fast as it'll go. Everybody from RCR was on the same page, and it feels good."

There were some difficult moments, however. He said starting the initial conversation with Childress was "awkward" and said it was hard to break the news to longtime friend and driver Ron Hornaday.

But overall, the decision was something the Harvicks needed to make in order navigate their future. While Harvick will remain busy with all that comes with being a Sprint Cup driver – he and DeLana will still have some input on the Nationwide team at RCR – he said a little more free time wouldn't be a bad thing.

"There are some normal things you can do in life, too – I hear," he said.

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