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Kevin Harvick to surpass Dale Earnhardt’s career starts total

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway will mark Harvick’s 677th career start in the series, one more than the total career starts of the driver he replaced in 2001, the late Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt died in a last-lap wreck in the 2001 Daytona 500, which was his 676th career start. The next week, Richard Childress Racing tapped Harvick to drive Earnhardt’s car – rebranded from No. 3 to No. 29 – for the remainder of the year.

“It should make a lot of us standing here feel old,” Harvick said on Friday at Talladega about his milestone start. “I think, as you look back and you don’t realize how long it actually has been and – and you guys have heard me say this before – but in the beginning it was really hard to understand the magnitude of the circumstances the first couple years, just because you didn’t really understand much about what was going on as you got into the second year and really started to understand what happened the year before.