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Sunday, July 15, 2012

If Kevin Harvick doesn’t want to deal with inexperienced drivers like Amber Cope, he shouldn’t race in the Nationwide series

Much has been made of the Kevin Harvick-Amber Cope beef that erupted after Saturday’s Nationwide series race at New Hampshire.

I’m going to focus most of this column on what I think was a childish and irrational response by Harvick after the race, but first let me delve into the Amber Cope issue. Harvick said she is not fit to be on the racetrack.

My take: She definitely has a lot to learn. No doubt, she should have been out of Harvick’s way at that point in the race, and hopefully she will learn from this experience. Because, after all, I might remind Harvick, the Nationwide series is a place where drivers learn things on their way up the ladder. This was only the second Nationwide race of Amber Cope’s career; of course she’s not going to run great. In fact, she is probably going to run terrible.

Before you even assess her driving skills, her car didn’t even take the green and was 20+ laps down at the start of the race due to mechanical issues. Then, after she got on track, it went several more laps down due to the obvious discrepancy in her car vs. the field.

She’s the definition of a rookie, and yes she is far from the talent level of people like Harvick, or even Nationwide regulars who run up front. I’m not claiming that she is a super talent, and I have no idea how she is compared to Danica Patrick. I haven’t seen her race enough to judge that.

All I’ll say on Amber is this. With her level of experience, Harvick should have expected about the level of racing that he saw from the 24 car. To expect more and then insult her, well that’s just illogical.

What exactly happened
With 22 laps left in the race, Harvick got slowed down after he was caught behind Cope; who more than 30 laps down at the time. Brad Keselowski took the lead and the victory; arguably because of Cope being in the way and making him slow down. You could also argue that a veteran like Harvick should have done a better job maneuvering around her, but that’s another debate. It’s clear she at least played a role.

Then the back-and-forth started:

Harvick said after the race:
"The 24 (of Cope) all day just had no clue what direction—I don't know if that's a guy or a girl so we'll call it an ‘it'—which way it was going and it committed up the racetrack and I committed to the bottom and then it came back down," Harvick said. "It's not one of those deals. It's somebody who shouldn't be on the racetrack that has no clue what they're doing in the racecar. She wants to be Danica Patrick, but she can't hold (Patrick's) helmet."

This is just uncalled for. Say she screwed up, maybe act as a mentor and explain to her how she could race better. But to call her names because you’re a sore loser and got passed at the end is just childlike. It’s a temper tantrum.

Harvick continued on Twitter.
Looking forward to tomorrow should be an intense race! Best part about it is I know the #24 will be able to drive straight tomorrow!”

To her credit, Amber didn’t back down. She defended her case, posting photos to show another car in the upper groove and said she had nowhere else to go.
She wrote: “@KevinHarvick Way to go tough guy. I bet if u take a moment in your arrogance u will realize your fault @keselowski figured it out”

She went on to tweet: "Just bc u say it does not make it right!!!" and "Mr @kevinharvick...where should I go? I will take the apologies Monday! ASS!"
and "I guess he forgot his journey" and "I know I can hold a helmet."

Harvick comes off as sore loser, fails to understand difference between Cup and Nationwide series

I have a memo to Kevin Harvick: It simply reads “Nationwide is not the Cup series; don’t expect the same talent.”

They are two different series; two different levels of competition, and he should get used to it.

Here’s how it breaks down in my view: Cup has 5 or 6 start and parks, 20+ competitors who are legitimate contenders to win; and about a dozen slow cars who are still driven by talented drivers in bad equipment.

Nationwide features a dozen start and parks; about a dozen contenders; AND about 20 slow cars, some much worse than others and covering a wide range of development levels. It’s a developmental series; so the Cup drivers moonlighting there need to get used to slow traffic who might not always be in the right place at the right time.

Yes, Cope should have been out of Harvick’s way since she was so many laps down, but NASCAR approved her to race so she obviously passed whatever test they have to prove yourself eligible. Harvick doesn’t know better than NASCAR in this regard. He’s not the judge of who should and shouldn’t race.

Bad attitude

The way Harvick comes off looking in this whole tiff is just bad, bad, bad.

The worst comment came after the initial war of words. On Sunday morning, asked by ESPN whether he would have an apology for Amber, as she said on Twitter she awaited, Harvick said: “Pick some boots and your favorite song and find a new job.”
I’m guessing he indicated she should be a stripper instead of a race car driver. Classy Kevin. Very classy. (well, maybe Ron Burgundy style classy)

Stay in your own series

Kevin Harvick has won plenty of Nationwide races. As far as I’m concerned, he and Cup drivers shouldn’t even be tinkering in the nationwide races. What is the point? They’re not made for him and his Cup brethren. They are made for up and coming drivers, like Amber Cope, who are trying to make their name in the sport. All they are doing is taking seats away from young drivers would could be honing their skills.

If Harvick is going to complain about the quality of competition in the lower series, I say don’t show up. Most likely, what happened with Cope won’t happen to you by any of the lapped cars in Cup. (though Ryan Newman is notorious hard to pass; a la Dave Marcis back in the day).

It’s like a MLB catcher going to play in a AAA game and then complaining that the pitcher isn’t throwing the game right. Of course he isn’t, he is not at your level.

Harvick is a Cup veteran; he’s never won a Cup, but he’s won a ton of races, and frankly I do not understand why he bothers monkeying around in these lower series. This kind of dabbling is a recipe for disaster, as he is almost guaranteed to be running against a bunch of amateurs. That’s what the series is for – D-E-V-E-L-O-P-M-E-N-T. If Amber Cope had run this way in the Cup series, I could see his complaint being legit. But she’s in the proper series – the lower ones. That’s where you learn, and presumable she will learn from this.

And the end result – Kevin Harvick’s comments make him look like a jackass.

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Anonymous Brian 97 said...

Harvick a jackass? Really? Been saying that for years! All drivers need to declare a series and stay there for that season. Invaders have ruined the Nationwide series and the truck series.

July 16, 2012 at 12:10 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're being a little hard on Harvick here. While I understand your point, she was in the way all day. If you watched that race flag to flag, you would have seen several instances where she was well off the pace and failed to yield to the leaders. Aside from the Harvick thing there was an instance with Elliot Sadler that was particularly atrocious. Nationwide is national touring series, it isn't ARCA on K&N East. This is one step below cup. Drivers in this series are expected to know where they are on the race track and , oh I don't know, get out of the leader's way at the end of the race when you're 33 laps down. Don't blame her equipment. Losing 13 laps with an Undamaged race car is not at national touring level, sorry.

July 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


July 16, 2012 at 3:14 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvick is the man with the most experience but certainly didn't show it in the nationwide race on Saturday.To play the blame game is NOT becoming to a professional driver.Take responsibility and get on with it!

July 16, 2012 at 6:02 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She had the same problem at Iowa and got parked. She needs to run ARCA or the truck series for awhile.

July 16, 2012 at 6:08 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No class Harvick is the most arrogant hotheaded bully in Nascar history. His antics and potty mouth through out his career and on Saturday & Sunday continue to justify it. The list of drivers he's had run ins with is endless and well documented. Only reason he keeps running the nationwide and truck series after all these years is to stroke his big ego. If you look at the replays Cope made the correct move. Harvick should have followed the other 2 cars on the outside. To Ambers credit she finished the race with her car intact except for a fender where tough guy Harvick hit her after the race. Only surprise, Kevin didn't get out of his car with his helmet on and go take a few swings at her through her window.

July 16, 2012 at 6:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Harvick got the attention Kurt Busch got, everyone would know what kind of person he really is.

He's no better and in some cases worst.

July 16, 2012 at 7:26 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dare say with that nonsense coming out of his mouth if it was one of the Busch Brothers..the fair and almighty Nascar sure would have put some sort of fine down for them, double standards as always..Kevin getting mad in a NNS race was laughable, I always knew he was a jerk, when is the rest of the Nascar nation gonna figure it out? Hope his son doesn't watch any tapes of him in action, but hey the wife sounds just as bad...maybe the baby with the girls name will be a bully after all, who knows?

July 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He probably has to drive a few races in that series because of sponsorship money for RCR.He's free to his opinion just like everyone else. She belongs at a local track,not a national touring series

July 16, 2012 at 9:53 AM 
Anonymous oldirtracker said...

You obviously have no experience or knowledge of auto racing. The Nationwide series is akin to triple a baseball and not a place for totally inexperienced drivers to learn. Amber racing in the Nationwide series is about the same as a little leager playing in a triple A game. She was 30 mph slower than the leaders, was in the way all day not just the Harvick incident and should have been black flagged for not maintaining a race pace as she was a couple of weeks earlier. She is going to get someone hurt and while Harvick may not have been politically correct in his comments, he is for the most part correct in his assessment of her skills.

July 16, 2012 at 10:01 AM 
Anonymous Brian 97 said...

Come on now! Where is the $50,000 fine and suspension for old Happy for remarks detrimental to NASCAR? If a Busch brother (especially Kurt) would of said this, this would of been breaking news, helicopters would be flying over, and they would be breaking into Soap Operas to interupt daytime TV!

July 16, 2012 at 10:55 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so kevin is the bad guy because he didn't think paris hilton cope would swerve down from the outside line into his car after they had entered turn 3. i don't think it's out of line to expect a nationwide wanna be racer have some experience in some kind of racing enviroment somewhere... anywhere. just saying, hey i'm related to derrick cope isn't enough no matter how much you hate kevin.

July 16, 2012 at 3:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missy Cope is NOT ready to race in any Nascar series. Nationwide is NOT a beginners series. She is nothing more than another wannabe. Myself and being a woman I would have given her a boot to the wall to get her out of the race. KUDOS to Kevin

July 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

considering her gender he might have been able to beat her up without resorting to his trademark from behind sneak punch.but imagine if she put a beating on him like chad little or ricky rudd.

July 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM 

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