Kevin Harvick Inc. may be able to boast one of the leading vehicles in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at present after co-owner Kevin Harvick contributed to a recent hat-trick of wins in the series, but success is no guarantee of survival in the present business climate - as KHI has just demonstrated.
Harvick confirmed on Friday that he is shutting down the Truck team, having already suspended manufacturing operations last month and earlier this week announced that the Nationwide Series operations would be rolled into Richard Childress Racing in 2012.
"The racing portion of Kevin Harvick Inc., the only part that will still exist, will operate out of RCR, but there won't be anything racing-wise operating out of our shop," said Harvick in Friday's media appearances. "We'll get rid of it."
KHI has a 80,000-square-foot facility in Kernersville, N.C. and a workforce of 140, some of whom will transfer over to RCR to support the newly merged Nationwide Series operations. But for the others, a big question mark hangs over their future.
Harvick insisted that it had come down to a purely business decision. "There were no financial issues. We were making it all work, but sometimes you feel like you have to get something out of it. In the end, it's business," he said. "We were winning races and loved to be a part of that, but in the end, it's business.
"We've scrimped and scraped and got the sponsorship and things you need. General Motors has been a great supporter, but from a business standpoint, sometimes you have to make decisions on what you want to do. For us, it just didn't make sense."
Once Harvick made the decision to move the Nationwide operation back to RCR - with the new cars much closer to Cup cars, making it beneficial to build and run them side-by-side with the Childress Cup stable - the rest of the KHI operation no longer really justified continuing, Harvick explained.
"The technical inspections have become extremely difficult for a stand-alone team to make the things right that need to be right in order to keep up with the Cup teams, you have to be in a Cup shop."
Harvick also wants to remove distractions so that he can spend more time on his Cup campaigns in the future
"The only thing that I want to do that we haven't been able to accomplish in my career is win a Cup championship," said Harvick. "Cup cars make it all go around ... Without the Cup car being successful, the trucks don't exist, the Nationwide cars don't exist and the sponsors aren't there.