Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick was most-mentioned NASCAR driver on TV this year

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One wonders if Budweiser, Jimmy John’s, and Outback Steakhouse are set to provide Kevin Harvick with a nice Christmas bonus.

Those major companies backed Harvick as he charged to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and with Harvick being among the fastest drivers week in and week out, he got lots of television airtime for himself and his stable of sponsors.

Back in July, we told you Harvick was the most-mentioned driver on NASCAR TV broadcasts through the first half of the 2014 campaign. Now, Joyce Julius and Associates is reporting that he was the most-mentioned driver on TV throughout the entire season.

Harvick netted 5,740 TV mentions altogether in 2014, beating Jeff Gordon (5,094), Jimmie Johnson (4,830), Brad Keselowski (4,164), and Joey Logano (3,482).

Gordon, whose bid for a fifth Cup title ended in the Eliminator Round, led all drivers in total interview time on TV with one hour, 33 seconds’ worth of mic work. Dale Earnhardt Jr., knocked out of the Chase in the Contender Round, was second in that category (56 minutes, 32 seconds), and Harvick was third (53 minutes, 12 seconds).

Surprise Championship 4 contenders Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman are listed eighth and 14th respectively in TV mentions. Newman himself is next-to-last among the Top 20 in interview time with his 13 minutes, 31 seconds, which only beat Marcos Ambrose (10 minutes, 50 seconds).

Considering Ambrose has gone back home to Australia and V8 Supercars, we figure he doesn’t care much about this.

Here’s how the year-end data looks…

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NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.