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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Harvick-Busch incident almost leads to fight night at Darlington

Behind the Cinderella victory was a little Saturday night dustup between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, two drivers who have never been described as even-tempered.

The two were trading paint very heavily late in the race, and in the process they sent Clint Bowyer hard into the inside wall.

Online, many fans were angry at Kyle – even calling for a suspension – after he clipped Harvick hard and triggered the melee, but others defended him and said Harvick was to blame.

Things got very interesting after the race, as the two continued to trade paint, then on pit road Harvick got out of his car and tried to take a swing at Busch in his car .. but Busch drove off, and Harvick’s car (minus the driver) slammed into the pit wall.

Bizarro, to say the least, and you can bet some probationary periods are in order for these two, who quickly took the fighting spotlight away from JPM and Newman, who on Friday got into a dustup inside the NASCAR hauler (for the record, JPM said Newman “hits like a girl”).

From Busch’s perspective, he was not in the wrong.

"It was tight racing after the restart there. (Kevin) Harvick is up there on the top a little bit loose and I had a run and I gave him room -- he kind of came up off the wall. That's kind of a bad angle, obviously (watching the replay). He lifted early to
let me go into turn three and I thought it was all good. Then he drives into the back of me there. He made my car loose all the way through the exit and just made a run for those two guys to get back on my inside. Then obviously Clint (Bowyer) wrecked bouncing off of Harvick,” Busch said. “Just uncalled for and just unacceptable racing. It's in the last couple laps, but I gave him room off of two and I didn't get the room. Just real unfortunate. We tore up a few good cars there. Our Doublemint Camry was so good today that we should have ran up front and we should have finished up front, but we kind of got marred back in traffic there. Tried to fight our way back forward. It was a really, good clean night and I probably passed the most cars tonight, but there was one I couldn't pass."

Regarding the after-race incident, Busch said:
"I just stayed behind him, I was just going to sit there, not worry about it and let him cool his head for a second and let him figure out that we just need to go back to the garage area. Instead of him doing that, he wanted to get out of his car I guess and
wanted to fight. I knew that wasn't going to be a good situation and when I saw him getting out of his car, I knew it wasn't going to be a good situation.”

“My choices were limited, I was either going to get punched in the face and then wait for Harvick to get back in his car for me to go or just drive through his car and push it out of the way so I could get out of there and try not to get hit or anything like that. I made a judgment call there and it wasn't one of the best choices that I had, but I pushed his car out of the way on pit road and unfortunately there was men walking down pit road. I hate it that somebody could have gotten hurt, but I was just trying to get away from it and get back to my hauler and go on with my own business."

So I guess it’s up to the viewer to decide … was Busch afraid, or was he smart to avoid a confrontation? Probably a little of both (I wouldn’t want to be in Harvick’s way when he’s mad.)

Harvick was interviewed after talking to NASCAR officials, and was not as forthcoming.
“Obviously we were racing hard and doing what we had to do there at the end and thing happen. That’s racing, I guess.”
Beneath that smile he was flashing, you know that Harvick has a plan … next time he is near Busch, you can expect some fireworks, and I would say it’s justified. Busch’s move was very aggressive and should be looked at hard by NASCAR. It put other cars in danger and Busch needs to know that it’s not acceptable.

Regardless of what happens, I have to say – it was all quite fun to watch, and reminded me of some great post-race confrontations in the past. I know I, and all NASCAR fans, will be watching this one closely in the future.

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Anonymous britracer said...

Think Harvick is just ticked because Shrub just keeps eating everybody's lunch (including his) like he did
to Sadler in Harvick's car on Friday night. As Dale Sr. used to say, "if you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch."

May 9, 2011 at 8:55 AM 

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