Kevin Harvick

Harvick has stated countless times that his favorite driver growing up was 4-time Indy 500 champion Rick Mears who grew up at and was an idol of Bakersfield, California.

Harvick made his Craftsman Truck Series (now known as Camping World Truck Series) debut in 1995 at the Mesa Marin Raceway, in his hometown of Bakersfield, where he started and finished 27th in his family-owned #72. He drove four races in the #72 the next season, his best finish was 11th at Mesa Marin.

In 1997, he signed to drive the #75 for Spears Motorsports mid-season, posting two eighth-place finishes. He ran a full schedule the next season, posting 3 top-fives and finishing 17th in points. Harvick also moved up to the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series in 1997, and in 1998 Harvick won five races on his way to the Winston West Series championship while driving for Spears.

He received his first real national exposure during the winter of 1997/1998 on ESPN2's coverage of the NASCAR Winter Heat Series at Tucson Raceway Park.

In 1999, he drove the #98 Porter Cable Ford for Liberty Racing, finishing 12th in points with six top-fives.

(Source: Wikipedia)