External News Wire | 03/20/15

Author: Holly Cain

Date: March 19, 2015

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Kevin Harvick will need to make room among the NASCAR Sprint CupSeries trophies he's collecting right and left these days for some other significant recognition he received in his hometown Wednesday -- or as they officially proclaimed it in Bakersfield -- "Kevin Harvick Day."

NASCAR's reigning Cup champion and current championship leader has spent the early portion of the week in his California hometown. And while he was honored with words and bestowed with gifts from community leaders and influential lawmakers Wednesday at the Kern County Boys and Girls Club, it was Harvick who did the giving.

His Kevin Harvick Foundation, in partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, announced a major gift to the Kern County Boys and Girls Club -- the largest in the state -- which will include new athletic fields, a fitness track and modern scoreboard. And the large gymnasium where Wednesday's ceremony was held will be completely remodeled and renovated.

The announcement went over very well with community, which packed the gym, and the hundred or so children in the audience who held up a large "Thank you Kevin" sign and offered the greeting in unison after the big news was revealed. They are among the 5,700 kids who use one of the county's Boys and Girls Club daily.

"Kevin is a fantastic individual and hometown boy who remembers his roots and gives back to his hometown to make a difference,'' local Budweiser executive Ken Ouellette told the crowd to rousing applause.

Through his foundation Harvick has consistently and generously given back to the area his family still calls home, and for years has also provided major financial help to the local high school and scholarships to several of its students.

It's a track record that is clearly as important to Harvick as the historic racing streak he's on -- including seven consecutive top-two finishes and back-to-back wins in the first two of the three-stop "NASCAR Goes West" swing that concludes Sunday at Auto Club Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX).

"This is an impact we can make with thousands of kids,'' Harvick told Wednesday's crowd adding with a proud smile, "This town is responsible for the direction my career took.

"And right now, the year's going pretty well.''

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