NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick will celebrate his 37th birthday in style a week early this year, feted at Saturday night’s Budweiser Presents Happy’s Birthday Bash at The Fox Theater.

Country music star Craig Morgan headlines the charity event benefitting the Kevin Harvick Foundation with a special guest appearance by Bridgette Tatum.

Tickets to the event, which is open to the public, are on sale (, charge by phone at 1-888-825-5484, at The Bakersfield Fox Theater box office, or any Vallitix outlet.

“When you hit your late 30s, you don’t exactly look forward to another birthday,” joked Harvick, born Dec. 8. “But knowing my ever-increasing age benefits the Kevin Harvick Foundation and underprivileged children across the country will make it a little easier to take.

“I want to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to Budweiser, Craig Morgan and KS Industries for helping these youngsters while also celebrating a not-so-youngster.”

Tickets start at $29, a reference to the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet Harvick drives for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  A private, VIP after party will be held at The Padre Hotel, as will the exclusive Happy’s Hour Pre-Party Presented by NTS Motorsports.

A limited number of pre-party and after-party combination concert tickets are available to the public for $129.  Morgan will entertain concertgoers with the many hit songs from his more than 10-year country music career, including his newest album, This Ole Boy.

The Budweiser Presents Happy’s Birthday Bash takes place the day after the season-ending NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas, in which Harvick will be honored for finishing eighth in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition.

Tour of California to bypass Bakersfield

LOS ANGELES — For the first time in its history, the Amgen Tour of California will begin in the south and take cyclists on a northward route in 2013.

The Tour, which had a time trial in Bakersfield  last year, is bypassing the Central Valley.

The roughly 750-mile stage race will begin in Escondido in San Diego County on May 12 and take riders through Santa Barbara, San Jose and San Francisco before ending in Santa Rosa on May 19.  Escondido hosted the race finish in 2009.

Tour of California executive director Kristin Bachochin says a northward route has long been considered and race officials are thrilled it could be done for the eighth annual edition of the road race.

Patel chasing dream

Bhavik Patel is now just six rounds of golf away from his dream. But those 108 holes of golf will be the toughest that the 21-year-old local professional has ever encountered.

The grueling test of the PGA Tour’s Final Qualifying Stage begins today in La Quinta, where Patel will be one of 172 players competing for PGA Tour playing membership for 2013. Competitors will play both the TPC Stadium and the Nicklaus Tournament Courses at PGA West over the next six days.

Patel begins his quest at 9:30 a.m. on the first tee at the Nicklaus Tournament Course where he will play along with Nick Rousey from Pensacola, Fla., and Meen Whee Kim from South Korea.

The top 25 and ties after the completion of Monday’s final round secure PGA Tour status for next year while the next number closest to 50 earn playing rights to the Tour, the PGA Tour’s version of minor league baseball. All others will have limited playing rights to the Tour.

BC football tickets

Bakersfield College will begin selling tickets for the Dec. 8 state championship football game at Memorial Stadium to season ticket holders can purchase tickets at 10 a.m. in the BC Ticket Office, today through noon Thursday.

Students, faculty and staff can purchase tickets at noon Thursday through the end of business Friday afternoon. General admission tickets for adults are $15, $10 for students, seniors, faculty, staff and children under 12.

Monday, starting at 8 a.m. tickets will go on sale for the general public, and will also be available online at For questions, call the BC Ticket Office at (661) 395-4326.