Elk Hunters, RMEF Supporters Sprint Toward NASCAR Championship

Two of the four drivers in the running for NASCAR'S Sprint Cup championship title are avid elk hunters. Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman have ties to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. They both love the outdoors, and elk hunting. Harvick, and the team owners of both drivers - Richard Childress (Newman) and Fred Lekse (Harvick) - are lifetime members of the RMEF.

There is a 50-50 chance that an elk hunter with ties to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will celebrate NASCAR’s biggest prize in victory lane this weekend. Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman are among four drivers seeking their first Sprint Cup championship.

“Ryan loves the outdoors and he really loves bow hunting elk. We exchange text messages quite often during hunting season and he has been very generous in supporting the outdoor sports and kids in the outdoors,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “I met Kevin when he was just a young driver from California looking for a break in the big leagues of NASCAR. He has great drive and is very competitive. He is also an avid elk hunter.”

Harvick became a RMEF life member after taking his first two elk hunts in 2007 and 2008.

“I took a nice bull in New Mexico,” Harvick told Outdoor Channel. “That incredible hunt and experience helped me appreciate and admire the conservation work of the RMEF. This is an organization that’s doing great things to conserve wildlife habitat. And I am proud to help the Elk Foundation continue its work for future generations.”

While both Harvick and Newman support the RMEF and its mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage, their respective teams’ ties to the conservation organization go much deeper.

Richard Childress, one of NASCAR’s highest profile and most popular owners, who oversees Newman’s number-31 team, is also a RMEF life member. His financial support assisted RMEF’s contributions of more than $1 million toward the reintroduction of elk into North Carolina in the early 2000s. Childress also set aside the center portion of his RCR Racing Museum to wildlife and outdoor conservation.

”Richard is one of the most dedicated outdoorsmen and hunters I know. He has a huge passion for the hunting culture and he lends his name to help all of us in the outdoor industry whenever he can,” added Allen.

Fred Lekse is the president of Kevin Harvick Inc. and the number-4 team. He, too, is a RMEF life member and dedicated supporter. Lekse also serves on the RMEF President’s Council and attends as many banquets as he can every year. Years ago, he purchased an elk hunt in Kentucky, a state where RMEF invested more than $1.4 million to date to assist with management of Kentucky’s elk restoration program.

"When I bought the hunt, I didn't really know what to expect," said Lekse. "But to see the numbers and the quality of elk on what used to be a coal mine was pretty impressive. It immediately convinced me I needed to do my part with the Elk Foundation."

Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are the other two drivers vying for the NASCAR championship. The 2014 title will be decided by finishing order. The race is Sunday, November 16, at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 200,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 6.5 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.