NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick isn’t afraid of getting scrappy on and off the track.
It may be surprising to learn that NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick and UFC lightweight Donald Cerrone are buddies. With their similar dispositions, however, they may just be a match made in heaven. It would be easier to list the NASCAR drivers that Harvick hasn’t feuded with than the ones he has. On the other hand, Cerrone fi ghts like he’s driving a racecar with his pedal-tothe-metal style.
They’ve become such good friends that Harvick was part of Cerrone’s entourage for his UFC on Fuel TV victory over Jeremy Stephens in May, with Cowboy giving a shoutout to his speedy friend in his post-fight interview inside the Octagon.
“Cowboy and I have become great friends over the last couple of years,” says Harvick. “We were introduced by TapouT co-founders Punkass and Skrape, who have been sponsoring my car for the last couple of years. I’ve had the opportunity to see Cowboy’s last two fi ghts live, and I’ve have been very impressed with how far he has come since joining the UFC.”
Harvick became a fan of the sport a few years before befriending Cerrone, when he became acquaintances with then-UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. While racing a car and fighting in a cage don’t share any obvious traits—other than the participants putting their personal safety on the line—Harvick does feel a certain kinship with his fighting friends.
“In most sports, you have to be in outstanding shape to compete at the highest level,” Harvick says. “But what a fighter goes through to get ready for a fight is totally unique. I wrestled in high school back in Bakersfield, California, and I have the upmost respect for what these guys go through during training camp.”
The 36-year-old Harvick, who has 69 victories in NASCAR’s various series, including NASCAR’s crown jewel—the Daytona 500—in 2007, has taken his love of MMA to the masses, racing and winning with the iconic TapouT logo adorning his vehicle. His partnership with TapouT is beneficial for both MMA and NASCAR in Harvick’s opinion.
“I think NASCAR and the UFC share a lot of the same fans,” he says. “The UFC is one of the fastest growing sports right now, so having the opportunity to cross-promote says a lot about both sports’ demographics. I had the opportunity earlier this year to attend the UFC on FOX fi ghts in Chicago to promote the Daytona 500, and it was amazing. My new TapouT commercial has generated a lot of positive exposure from both NASCAR and UFC fans who see me in this spot with other TapouT athletes to promote the #MYFIGHTMATTERS campaign.”
Despite his obvious love of MMA and his penchant for getting into scraps, Harvick hasn’t taken it to the next level and trained in any disciplines.
“I have never trained in mixed martial arts, but I do a lot of training during the season to make sure I am ready to go once I am strapped in the racecar,” Harvick says. “Like in most professional sports, good physical fitness equates to good mental health. Your fitness level gives you an added advantage on the track, whether it’s reaction time during the race or injury prevention after a hard crash.”
Kevin Harvick isn’t just willing to swap paint on the racetrack—he’ll swap punches off of it. Here are some of his most famous dustups with his fellow drivers.
2001: Greg Biffle
After Biffle (who Harvick had a brewing feud with already) sent Harvick into the wall at Bristol, Harvick promised he would deal with him after the race. He did just that, diving across his car and attempting to choke Biffle.
2008: Carl Edwards
After Edwards caused a huge crash at the Talladega Superspeedway (that Harvick got caught up in), Harvick called him a “pansy.” Edwards responded by leaving a profane note on Harvick’s airplane. The next week, the two drivers got into a shoving match and had to be pulled apart at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
2011: Kyle Busch
Following a Sprint Cup race at the Darlington Raceway, Harvick took a swing at Kyle Busch while Busch was parked behind him on pit road. Busch ended up pushing Harvick’s car into a retaining wall trying to escape the attack. They were both put on probation and fined $25,000by NASCAR.