Kevin Harvick and his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team had an early wake-up call on Monday morning for Daytona 500 car induction ceremonies at DAYTONA USA.
After celebrating their triumph in the 49th annual Daytona 500 victory on Sunday night, Harvick, owner Richard Childress and crew chief Todd Berrier inducted their winning racing machine into DAYTONA USA as part of the Banquet Brown 'N Serve Champion's Breakfast.
"To win the Daytona 500 is as big as it gets in our sport," Harvick said. "It's what has made NASCAR racing what it is today. To be a part of those chapters in the history book is pretty special to be a part of. I'm proud of everybody for doing everything that they did. We were up and down yesterday and in the end we were up when it counted."
The No. 29 car will rest inside Gatorade Victory Lane at DAYTONA USA for the next 364 days and will be returned to the team before the start of the historic 50th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008.
Harvick, Childress and Berrier participated in a fan forum inside the attraction and received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig. In addition, Gatorade presented the 2007 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from Victory Lane.
Harvick also autographed artist David Arrigo's DIRECTV Speedweeks mural painting and the entire No. 29 team including Harvick signed the winning No. 29 car.
Childress, who won the 1998 Daytona 500 with the late Dale Earnhardt, calls Sunday's Daytona 500 finish the most thrilling that he has ever witnessed in person.
"I've been coming here since 1965 and it's the most exciting Daytona 500 finish that I've ever seen," Childress said. "With the cars wrecking and side by side, and Kevin coming from seventh, it was an amazing finish and I'm just glad we were in front."
Harvick had a low-key celebration on Sunday night with his wife DeLana eating leftover bake ziti and making plans for a Daytona 500 winner's tour. Harvick's media tour over the next three days will include appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, Live with Regis and Kelly and the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
"We are pretty low key people," said Harvick, who earned a record $1,510,469 in winnings. "You take it all in and you really appreciate everything that has happened. You just try to soak it all up while you can."
Tickets information for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 are available at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
DAYTONA USA is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information on "The Official Attraction of NASCAR," visit www.DAYTONAUSA.com or call (386) 947-6530.