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Kevin Harvick gets ready for big weekend on, off track in Las Vegas

Kevin Harvick led 131 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway and looked like the car to beat along with Jimmie Johnson, but issues with a soft brake pedal and a slow pit stop resulted in a sixth place finish.

Kevin Harvick will have a busier weekend than usual as the Sprint Cup circuit moves to Las Vegas this week.

Harvick not only will be competing in Sunday’s main event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but on Saturday night he’ll be present for another main event – which he has a personal stake in.

Harvick’s KHI Management represents one of the top MMA fighters, Miesha Tate, who will try to take the UFC bantamweight title away from Holly Holm in UFC 196.

There will also be a special undercard welterweight battle between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.

“I’ve been to one fight that has that type of environment – when I went to Brock Lesnar’s fight back when he fought for the belt the last time,” Harvick said in a media release. “But the buzz that Conor (McGregor) creates and Miesha (Tate) and her weight class create and from the management side of it, you look at it and you have one of your fighters fighting for the championship.

“To be able to go see that is exciting. You blend that all together with the NASCAR weekend and you have the fight in town, we’ll have a lot of sponsors in town, which makes it great because you’re going to have the sponsors at the event. You’re going to have the sponsors at the NASCAR event, and a lot of NASCAR people at the UFC event.

“It’s going to be a great weekend and a lot of fun to just take in that atmosphere, because when you get in fights that are at that level, it’s just a different atmosphere. You don’t get that atmosphere created very often, so it’s fun to be involved.”

Some might think UFC officials scheduled the fight on the same weekend to coincide with the NASCAR races at LVMS, but it just worked out that way.

“Once we saw it was the same weekend, we definitely changed our course of action for planning for that weekend,” Harvick said. “We knew we were going to have a lot of people there, so now that’s really why we do the management company.

“When you have these types of events and they fall into place like that and you can cross‑promote like that – people who aren’t NASCAR fans or UFC fans who aren’t NASCAR fans – and you can get them to the other events, that’s a big plus for us on the sponsorship side and entertaining people.

“So I don’t think there is anybody who’s going to come for one or the other and not go to both events. That’s a good thing.”

Las Vegas has become one of Harvick’s favorite cities. He got married there, has won one Sprint Cup and two Xfinity Series races, and celebrated his 2014 Sprint Cup championship there.

“I have raced there for a long time but I don’t know that it has that special meaning other than the fact that we got married out there,” Harvick said. “Usually, (wife) DeLana and I eat at the same restaurant, we go to the same places and try to have some fun.

“It’s definitely been a good racetrack for me. It’s still a place where I have a lot of family and friends and people I enjoy. It’s a busy weekend but, all-in-all, it’s still a fun place to go.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski