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Dale Jr. wins Myers Brothers Award, Harvick earns seven honors DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.– In recognition of his career achievements as a champion driver, team owner and philanthropist, Dale Earnhardt Jr . was named the recipient of the 2014 NMPA Myers Brothers Award, a prestigious accolade recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. "This doesn't even seem real," said an emotional Earnhardt after receiving the honor at the 2014 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held at Wynn Las Vegas. "The truth is obviously I’m extremely humbled by this award, but I feel like I share it on so many levels - my sister Kelley (Earnhardt Miller) along with everyone at JR Motorsports is as deserving of this as anyone. I have a lot of passions with NASCAR, but I wouldn't be able to know how to make them realities without all those folks." An accomplished driver, evidenced by his 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories and two NASCAR Nationwide Series championships, Earnhardt was cited just as much for his achievements outside his No. 88 Chevrolet, namely as the owner of JR Motorsports and a tireless community benefactor. This season, JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott became the youngest competitor to win a NASCAR national series championship after clinching the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series title. The 18-year-old will likely join Brad Keselowski , Aric Almirola , Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt as Sprint Cup regulars who have developed under Earnhardt full time at the Nationwide level. In addition to his Nationwide Series program, Earnhardt contributes to racing at its grassroots levels, fielding Late Model or Street Stock cars since founding JR Motorsports. His Late Model drivers Josh Berry and William Byron finished first and second, respectively, this season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Hickory Motor Speedway. Earnhardt's work extends off the track into the community. He has made 235 appearances on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a number that ranks in the top five among professional athletes. Furthermore, his Dale Jr. Foundation raised $913,000 to be distributed to more than 70 different charities. "I'm just as proud of what we've accomplished there as anything we've ever done on the race track," Earnhardt said about his foundation. The NMPA Myers Brothers Award has been presented annually since 1958 in the names of pioneer NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers and its winner is chosen by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association. Past recipients are a virtual who's-who of the industry – drivers, owners, track operators, sponsors and members of the media – and include nearly every current member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Seventeen other awards were given out at the luncheon, spanning from achievements in marketing, performance on the track and exemplary work in the garage. 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick garnered seven honors, including the 3M Lap Leader Award and Mobil 1 Driver of the Year. "This is really the first time I've gotten to stand up here and actually realize what we've accomplished," Harvick said. "Thank you to everyone who has participated in making our sport what it is." Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: • NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr . • Buddy Shuman Award: Bill Joyner, Sunoco’s Manager of Automotive Events • NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Toyota • 3M Lap Leader Award: Kevin Harvick • American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick • Coors Light Pole Award: Brad Keselowski • Duralast Brakes “Brake in the Race” Award: Kevin Harvick • Freescale “Wide Open” Award: Kevin Harvick • Goodyear Tires Award: Kevin Harvick • MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Billy Davis, Hendrick Engines No. 4 team • Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team • Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kevin Harvick • MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Luke Lambert, crew chief No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team • Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Matt Kenseth • Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Kevin Harvick • Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Kyle Larson • Champion Sponsor Award: Budweiser • Champion Crew Chief: Rodney Childers Champion’s Week will conclude tomorrow with the following events (all times local PT unless noted): Friday, Dec. 5 • Pit Pass Check-In: Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 3, fans can pick up a Pit Pass at NASCAR fan headquarters, Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, and start checking in at various locations around the city where NASCAR partners will feature displays, including show cars. Running from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day, check-in locations include Tropicana (Ford), Treasure Island (Daytona International Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway ), Paris Las Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Caesars Palace (Chevrolet), Lagasse Stadium at The Palazzo (Toyota), and Excalibur (Mechanix Wear). • 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: This black-tie celebration will be held at Wynn Las Vegas, where the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and the other Chase drivers will be honored. The drivers and stars will walk the Red Carpet from 4 – 5 p.m. and NASCAR.com will live stream the arrivals from 4:30 – 5 p.m. FOX Sports 1 will air the show live beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET. • Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Reveal: The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be given to one dedicated NASCAR fan who has made a profound impact on children in his or her community. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the national award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. Fans can cast their vote for the 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting www.NASCAR.com/Award before 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 4. For more information on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, visit www.NASCAR.com/ChampionsWeek . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Jay Mohr roasts 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion before giving him his due RELATED: See all the driver speeches " View the Red Carpet Arrivals LAS VEGAS -- The spot at the head table at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards was all Kevin Harvick 's, with wife DeLana and 2-year-old son Keelan joining the Stewart-Haas Racing group in the celebration. The only problem was that host Jay Mohr had become accustomed to finding six-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Co. to his right, jokingly mistaking the Harvicks' identity. The jokes came fast and heavy in Friday night's awards gala at the Wynn Las Vegas with first-time champion Harvick not immune from Mohr's skewering. But there were also moments of sincerity among the levity as a family photo of father, mother and young son cherishing their victory moment was shown on the screen. "It's pictures like this that show you what NASCAR is all about," Mohr said. "And we all know in this room, it's about family. This is a family, and Kevin Harvick , my friend, what better way to celebrate your first Sprint Cup Series championship than here tonight being honored by your NASCAR family." Harvick's closing kick to the season, with wins in the final two races of 2014, captivated fans and the industry in the first year of the new playoff format, but so did the season-long show of speed that made his No. 4 Chevrolet the car to watch nearly every single weekend. Friday night, he gave his words of thanks after a well-earned first title. "From a kid in Bakersfield who just wanted to race," Harvick said, "just wanted to live out his dream, just for fun, did it as a hobby, this season has been a dream come true." With this season's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field expanded under the new format, all 16 qualifiers walked the red carpet and were honored on stage at the black-tie event. Almost all took some good-natured ribbing from the comedian/host. Mohr initially opened up with the promise of a "kindler, gentler" monologue after last season's stint as presenter got him on Danica Patrick 's bad side. This year, the targets were wide-ranging -- everything from NASCAR's winner stickers, Joey Logano 's pit-crew misstep in the championship race and Michael Waltrip 's tenure on "Dancing with the Stars" made the joke list. Brad Keselowski , who netted the most victories in the 2014 season (six) but also made the most waves in the Chase with a handful of well-publicized run-ins late in the year, saw his turn into NASCAR's pre-eminent villain among fans make him an easy target. "In Kentucky, Brad Keselowski cut his hand in Victory Lane opening a bottle of champagne," Mohr said. "Even booze hates Brad Keselowski . " Keselowski took the joke well. "I think he's just great. He puts us all back down," Keselowski said. "Sometimes we get stuck in -- it kind of reminds me of 'Talladega Nights' -- we kind of get stuck in this place where we put ourselves. Jay does a good job of knocking us back down and putting it in perspective that we're race car drivers, right?" Gordon, the four-time champion at age 43, was the oldest driver in the Chase, leading Mohr to list his season statistics as "four wins, 23 top-10s and five cases of Ensure." The age jokes were a continuation of the barbs from the previous night's NASCAR After the Lap tell-all, but Gordon didn't seem to mind. "If they were making fun of me and I wasn't here, maybe it would bother me," Gordon said. "The fact that we made it here, you have to be very appreciative of the efforts that got you here and the fact that it is a very competitive series. And I am the oldest guy in the Chase, and I'm proud of that. I don't look at it so much as age -- I've been around a long time. I started at a young age, been doing this a long time, and to still be doing it at the level that I'm doing it, yeah, I don't mind being made fun of." Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award for the 12th straight year, tipping his cap to his nation of fans for their votes and engagement with him on Twitter. Daniel Noltemeyer of Louisville secured the fourth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, winning a $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation and a 2015 Camry from award sponsor Toyota on behalf of Best Buddies Kentucky, a group that organizes social programs and awareness for people with developmental disabilities. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion, Kevin Harvick , gives a speech at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards.
Alan Cavanna gets you Up To Speed on Kevin Harvick's visit to, the home of the Thunderbirds, Nellis Air Force Base.
Ride along with Kevin Harvick as he does a burnout on the Las Vegas Strip.
KHI Management gives champion creative venture, link to UFC Editor's note: UFC 181 will be available live on Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday. Watch prelims on FOX Sports 1, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The reinvention of Kevin Harvick did not start -- or end -- last year when the driver decided to leave Richard Childress Racing , the only team he'd ever driven for at NASCAR's highest level, and join Stewart-Haas Racing . It did not culminate two weeks ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway when he steered his No. 4 Chevrolet into Victory Lane as the race winner and 2014 series champion. There is no beginning and no end to his growth, his ability to evolve. It is fluid and dynamic, the result of a mindset that states if you're not evolving, if you stand still, if you're static, then you're losing ground on whatever it is you are trying to do. And Harvick is trying to do a lot. "You constantly have to look at how you're doing things, why you're doing them that way," Harvick says. "There's always a better way. "You have to reinvent yourself every day." • • • In his motorhome at Martinsville Speedway in late October, Harvick sits cross-legged in an easy chair, his television muted behind him. His tablet and the reading glasses he uses to read whatever is on its screen rest on a table beside him. He is sipping coffee. It is approximately three weeks before Harvick would win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. But the topic of talk on this day isn't his performance on the track, which was the best it ever had been in his career, but rather on his second job. Second job, not side job. That second job is KHI Management, an organization that represents athletes and other personalities while also meeting their sports marketing needs. What was once Kevin Harvick Inc. -- a NASCAR team that competed in the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series -- is now an agency that boasts as clients NASCAR driver and broadcaster Jeff Burton ; UFC fighters Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, Miesha Tate and most recently Rose Namajunas; country music artists Jake Owen and Matt Stillwell; and golfer Jason Gore. Harvick and wife DeLana sold all assets of their race team to Richard Childress following the 2011 season, shortly before their son Keelan was born. His impending arrival caused the Harvicks to re-evaluate every aspect of their lives. "DeLana and I really enjoyed the race teams, and the challenge of the sponsorship and the people and that mixture of all the moving parts of pieces that it took to make things right," Kevin said. "Once we sold the race team and kind of settled in as parents, we knew we wanted to do something different. We didn't want anything with the magnitude of the race teams and the 24/7 grind that it took to make that stuff successful. If it's not successful, it's not fun. And if it's not fun, it's not worth doing because I do have a real job already. "I am a firm believer that the circle of life includes your job, personal life, finances ... all of that. If that circle is not balanced, you'll have trouble making anything work 100 percent correctly. Moving in this direction has added a great balance to my life." THE BEGINNING The start of KHI Management was due to alcohol. Cowboy Cerrone wanted a beer, and Harvick had one. The ultimate result of that encounter was a handshake agreement nearly nine months later that led to Cerrone being the first client of Harvick's company, which in addition to wife DeLana is led by Director of Business Development Josh Jones and President Fred Leske. "We were really just sitting around drinking beer and talking about money," Cerrone said with a laugh, fresh off a training session in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "I was telling him how we got paid at UFC, how sponsorship works. And eventually he said, 'Man, I think I could help you if you'd be interested.' At the time I was under different management, but we kept talking, and eight months or so later when I was (available to sign), I just kind of decided to try it out, you know? "That's the best move I've ever made." The handshake was more than just binding. It was also a beginning to what is now an impressive, multi-platform sports representation agency. "All of this that's happened, it was 100 percent by accident," Harvick said. "I think Donald was kind of our test as to what we thought we were going to do. When Donald came along and we started doing his stuff, we started to think there might be a niche (in UFC) for us. "It just started to work. He wound up being a good figure, I guess is the word, for us. He's a pretty personable guy, he has a personality that's unique, and he's a good fighter. He's got those things that helps him to be able to promote and sell." THE CONNECTION Cerrone is one of three UFC fighters to sign with KHI Management. Miesha Tate was the second, and Rose Namajunas has been onboard for about a month. It's a natural fit, linking NASCAR and UFC, the athletes all say, because of the similarities between the sports and their respective fan bases. "It's the same kind of demographic for sure, at least in my kind of fan base," Cerrone said. "I'm a blue-collar, cowboy, 9-5 worker kind of guy. That's what turned me into a NASCAR fan." He looks the part, even in the ring. Cerrone has had fights wearing trunks with Budweiser emblazoned across the front. Budweiser is, of course, a primary sponsor to Kevin Harvick 's No. 4 Chevrolet. Tate, too, had a sponsorship deal with Budweiser for a fight earlier this year. That's a perfect example of cross-promotion, in which relationships Harvick already has benefit KHI clients. And in addition to introducing NASCAR sponsors to the UFC athletes it represents, Harvick and his group can ideally meet new UFC-centric sponsors and introduce them to the world of NASCAR. The same goes for the two fan bases. "I think there's a lot of similarities between the fans, and I think that UFC brings that really young demographic that we fight so hard to get in the NASCAR garage," Harvick said. "There are a lot of UFC fans in the NASCAR garage. And with UFC, FOX is heavily involved, and there are a lot of ways to cross-promote that we've already done." There are also NASCAR fans in the UFC locker rooms. Cerrone, with his trademark cowboy hat, was whooping it up in Victory Lane following Harvick's must-win victory at Phoenix, then again in Miami when the veteran clinched the championship. It's not just Cerrone crossing boundaries to support Harvick , either. On Jan. 3, when Cowboy fights Myles Jury in Las Vegas as part of the co-main event for UFC 182, Harvick's entire pit crew will be cheering from the crowd. That's the sort of atmosphere that attracted Tate, who watched from afar as the sponsorship opportunities and support Cerrone began accumulating. Tate is No. 2 in the UFC women's bantamweight rankings and has a 15-5 mixed martial arts record. She's thought to be the biggest threat to unseat undefeated champion Ronda Rousey, she of the famous -- or perhaps it's infamous -- armbar submission. "I can't say enough good things about KHI," said Tate, who was also at Martinsville to drop the green flag as the honorary starter. "They've treated me very well and have given me a lot of opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise. They've helped me grow my network, and that's what I'm here to do." More than just providing support for fights -- which is certainly important -- KHI has a group of people that can help manage images, messaging and also work toward planning for what these UFC fighters might do once they retire. Just as Harvick cannot dive into a corner going 170 mph forever, neither can Cerrone, Tate and Namajunas be willing to get punched in the face forever. But being marketable when they retire is a process that starts while they are still active. Tate, already interested in what her life might look like post-UFC, revealed to NASCAR.com that she has signed a movie deal (but couldn't release the details) and is interested in being an MMA broadcaster when her fighting career ends. "I really want to grow my brand, and I wanted the company I sign with to be as motivated as I am," Tate said. "I want to do a lot of things. I have a lot of big goals and ambitions, and I want to sign with someone who's going to believe in me." THE FUTURE When you're in the representation business, you are in the business of acquiring talent. You are always looking for the next figure to bring in. The next KHI Management acquisition might just be a young NASCAR driver. Kyle Larson had an incredible rookie season, and Austin Dillon in his first Sprint Cup season resurrected the No. 3 -- the last man to drive it in the premier series was Dale Earnhardt, whose death in the 2001 Daytona 500 vaulted a young Harvick into the spotlight sooner than expected. Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship at age 18 and seems poised for eventual Sprint Cup superstardom. Those are just three young drivers who populate the NASCAR landscape. The sport's bright future means the choosy Harvick has plenty of options when it comes to selecting and negotiating. "We need another NASCAR driver, a full-time NASCAR driver, because that's what we do," Harvick said. "We've done that for years. But it has to be the right person that fits the mold of what we're doing. An up-and-coming young NASCAR driver is definitely on the radar." As is Harvick himself and, by proxy, his management group. Winning a Sprint Cup Series championship in the first year of a brand-new postseason format will do that to a man. Doing the media tour, being whisked around the country where his name and face are saturating media outlets, can only help his business. After all in NASCAR, it's all about winning, and winning the Sprint Cup trophy, as it related to Harvick's second job, isn't all that different from the old "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday," mantra manufacturers use. "I guess if you look at Kevin as the flagship, KHI having a title is huge," Cerrone said. "It's like me as a UFC champion under KHI, that's huge. It's super big to have Kevin as a champion with this group under him. That's awesome." The next big change for Harvick is relocating to Charlotte. His family has already moved to the metropolis that serves as the hub for many NASCAR teams. Harvick is now closer to Stewart-Haas Racing shops, and his entire business will relocate to Charlotte by Jan. 1. Their offices will be right off one of the state's major interstates, and close to a major airport. It's yet another far-reaching move for a guy who continues to see the big picture. "I'm a firm believer in constantly pushing buttons," said Harvick who, three weeks later, would spend a large portion of his week publicly needling fellow championship contender Joey Logano . "We have to see what we can do different, how we can change things, how can we push forward, ask 'Why aren't we doing this?' I'm the guy who asks a million questions and tries to keep things progressing." "You have to keep up in this sport, or you'll get left behind." The same goes for life. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
From moving to SHR to hoisting the 2014 Sprint Cup trophy above his head Nov. 16: Harvick wins Sprint Cup championship In his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick delivered a title and he did it in the fashion that became expected of the No. 4 team: smart pit decisions, pure speed and a whole lot of talent behind the wheel. " Read more Nov. 9: Harvick wins at Phoenix, clinches spot in championship race In what was possibly one the most crucial races of the 2014 season, Harvick proved that he knew how to dominate the desert track and wrote his ticket to the final four round of the Chase. " Read more Nov. 2: Post-race brawl between Keselowski, Gordon and Harvick Although Harvick wasn't the one throwing punches in the massive brawl at Texas Motor Speedway , he did spark it with a slight shove to Keselowski. Relive the dramatic ending to the Eliminator Round of the Chase as emotions get the most of drivers. " Read more Oct. 26: Harvick : Kenseth 'won't win this championship' Either Harvick can see the future or he was just that confident in his driving. After contact with Matt Kenseth at Martinsville sent the No. 4 to the garage and in a must-win situation at Phoenix two weeks later, Harvick spoke up about his feelings for the No. 20 JGR driver. " Read more Oct. 11: Harvick wins Charlotte night race with restart After six winless months, Harvick's Charlotte win secured him a spot in the Eliminator Round of the Chase and proved to the rest of the field that he's a force to be reckoned with. " Read more Sept. 9: Harvick , Stewart swap pit crews Although Harvick had speed on the track, it was his pit crew that needed some work. Just before the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, SHR announced that the No. 4 and No. 14 crews were going to switch. " Read more April 12: Harvick wins thrilling Southern 500 at Darlington Harvick passed Dale Earnhardt Jr . on the next-to-last lap of the second attempt at a green-white-checkered flag finish of the Southern 500 to become the first two-time winner of the season. " Read more March 2: Kevin Harvick dominates in Phoenix win Harvick has a positive track record at Phoenix International Raceway , but this win was extra special to the No. 4 SHR driver, as it was his first with his new race team. " Read more Feb. 3: Championship the lone goal for Kevin Harvick at SHR Harvick makes it clear that the reason he left RCR for SHR was to win a championship -- the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion goes into detail how his transition from team-to-team confirmed his decision to move. " Read more Dec. 11, 2013: Harvick , Newman pace configuration 1 test Fresh into the offseason, Harvick shows what kind of power the No. 4 has at a configuration test at Charlotte Motor Speedway and gives other drivers a hint at what's to come in 2014. " Read more July 12, 2013: Harvick to run SHR No. 4; no ride for Newman After 13 years with Richard Childress Racing, it was announced that Kevin Harvick would join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 and his sponsor, Budweiser, would make the move with him. " Read more MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView