For Kevin Harvick, getting a few days to hunt turkeys with Bill Jordan at Realtree Farms is not an easy order. The NASCAR season is in full swing by the time turkey season rolls around, and trying to time days off with good weather hasn't worked out real well for these two very busy guys.
But 2007 will go down as one of Harvick's best evera victory at the Daytona 500 in dramatic fashion and his first success with an old southern longbeard.
Kevin Harvick is different outside of his racing suit and race car. A friendly, unassuming smile and quiet confidence are the first obvious things, but as you talk to Kevin, you realize he really is a normal guy-who just happens to be one of the best drivers in the world.
For Kevin, that two and a half day hunt would be the only break from a hectic schedule in all of March, and things were starting to look like the turkeys may get the upper-er claw, again. But Kevin took the whole thing in stride. As far as he was concerned, he'd already found success just by having the chance to hang out with the boys, shoot some pool, and get away from the cell phones.
Not that Kevin allows the business to overtake him. "The business (Kevin Harvick Inc.) is really just sort of my hobby." He tells me one day while giving us a tour of the shop. I'm not sure how to respond. While KHI may not be one of the giants in the industry, this 'hobby' includes two truck series and two Busch series teams, merchandising and on and on.
It's Kevin's wife, Delana, who keeps her eye on the business side of KHI, allowing Harvick to concentrate on his racing-and the turkeys. We met up with Delana before the race at Charlotte in May at a charity golf tournament in honor of her Father. While Kevin and Bill hacked their way through 18 holes, Delana kept one hand on the wheel of a golf cart, the other on her Blackberry. Both were in constant motion.
For his part, Kevin spent the week leading up to Charlotte at appearances and tests and qualifying, and giving us a glimpse firsthand at why he cherishes those brief moments away from the roar of the crowd.
Still fresh in his memory was the morning at Realtree Farms, when finally the planets aligned, and the turkeys decided to 'turn on' the last morning of his hunt. As Bill coaxed the big longbeard into range, Kevin spent some rare time sitting still. In just a couple of days he'd be back in the racing suit going 200 MPH, but for now, Kevin's total focus could be on his first gobbler, and his winning streak would continue.