His final race was no different as he battled an ill-handling race car at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Harvick pulled out a 10th-place finish Sunday in his final run in the No. 29 Chevrolet. He entered the finale in mathematical contention to win the Sprint Cup title, but needed a failure from Jimmie Johnson to have a realistic shot.
"We were able to salvage something out of the night," Harvick said. "Obviously, it's not what we wanted, but came back and were way better at the end than what we were in the beginning. It's what we've done all year, and I'm just proud of everybody and thank them for everything that they have done."
Johnson finished ninth to wrap up his sixth championship in the last eight years.
Harvick wound up third in the final standings, 34 points behind Johnson. Matt Kenseth was the runner-up.
Harvick is moving to Stewart-Haas Racing next year after 14 seasons with RCR.
Harvick emerged from his car smiling, relieved that a day—a season, really—filled with emotion was over.
"I'm happy, yeah," Harvick said. "I'm happy with everything that we have been able to accomplish as a group. We had a great year knowing what the circumstances were and we have won a lot of races, a lot of the marquee races."
Harvick won 23 Cup races with Childress, including 12 in the last four years. He won four times this season. He also won two Nationwide Series titles (2001, 2006) with Childress.
"There is a lot that has happened with everything and everybody at RCR, and really proud about my past and everybody who has been involved in it and really excited about my future."