By Reid Spencer
SPARTA, Ky.—The baseball game was five days away, and DeLana Harvick already was throwing down the gauntlet.
As she stood in the No. 33 KHI transporter last Friday at Kentucky Speedway, Harvick was talking some good-natured trash about her husband and Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick as a prelude to a charity event scheduled in conjunction with Wednesday’s Eastern League All-Star Game in Manchester, N.H.
In addition to bringing 50 Boys and Girls Club members to the game, the Harvicks will compete in a home run derby. DeLana may have an advantage when it comes to prowess on the diamond.
“I actually played church league softball years and years ago,” DeLana told Sporting News. “Kevin’s really lucky he’s good on the racetrack, because I’ve seen him swing a bat before, and it’s not pretty.
“We’re actually on competing teams for this home run derby. Some of the kids are on my team, and I think (FOX and TNT pit reporter) Matt Yocum’s on Kevin’s team. It’s a toss-up. I honestly don’t know who’s going to win this.”
As part of the event hosted by longtime Kevin Harvick Inc. sponsor Rheem and The Kevin Harvick Foundation, Kevin will drive a show car around the warning track and throw out the first pitch.
“He’s actually done the Yankees first pitch before, back in 2001, and he actually got it across the plate,” DeLana said. “I think he’s scheduled to go up in another week or two to do that again as well. He’s a big Yankees fan.”
Rheem and the foundation also have provided tickets to members of the Boys and Girls Club of Manchester for Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The all-star game and the race are part of a broader foundation initiative that focuses on children.
The Harvicks don’t have children of their own, and neither came from money, but they have earned success in racing—Kevin as a driver at stock car racing’s highest level, DeLana as a driving force behind the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide teams they own and manage.
“Kevin and I realize how fortunate we are, and we realize the big impact that a lot of people had on our lives when we were younger, so the focus of the foundation is to positively enrich the lives of children,” DeLana said.
In association with Kevin’s former Cup sponsor Shell/Pennzoil, the Harvicks provided educational opportunities and at-track experiences to disadvantaged children. Even though Shell has moved on, to be replaced by Budweiser on the hood of the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, the Kevin’s Krew program has continued under the aegis of the foundation’s Chase Your Dream scholarships.
Children submit essays to compete for $500 stipends to pursue activities outside typical classroom curriculum.
“They may want to take dance lessons or sign language lessons, things like that that they might not be able to do,” DeLana said. “That allows them to continue to pursue their dreams, and that’s important to us.”