It was a first win for Regan Smith and another chapter in the dramatic story of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick at Darlington Saturday night.
Smith’s Chevrolet was fast on old tires as he held off Carl Edwards’ Ford in the final laps. Smith even hit the wall at one point but was still able to hold off Edwards.
But it was after the checkered flag when the action really started to pick up. Kevin Harvick wanted a word with Kyle Busch. Maybe more than a word.
In the final laps Harvick slowed just enough to allow Busch to pass, then got back in the gas and gave a shove to the rear of Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.
But Kyle Busch was having none of that. Kyle intentionally drove Harvick’s No. 29 Chevy down the racetrack causing Harvick to wreck his own teammate, the No. 33 of Clint Bowyer.
Then Busch came around and took another swipe at Harvick’s Chevy sending it spinning. It was two for one shopping at Richard Childress Racing for Kyle Busch.
Harvick stopped his car directly in front of Kyle Busch and climbed out of his car ready for a fight. At this point Busch made his best move of the night. He waited until Harvick was out of the car and drove away – clipping Harvick’s Chevy in the process and crashing it one more time into the pit wall.
It’s a good thing Busch got away. My money is on Kevin Harvick in a street fight like that. That may be Kyle Busch’s smartest move yet.
What do you think? Could Kyle have taken him, or was he smart to run away.
Kevin Harvick was just a tick faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr as the final few laps counted down in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville. And that was all it took for Harvick to make the final pass on Earnhardt for the lead on lap 497 of 500.
Harvick knew the win wouldn’t be all that popular given that he had to beat Dale Jr for it . “I hate to be the bad guy here, but we’re in it to win it,” said Harvick. “I’m just glad we led more than one lap this week.”
Earnhardt had gained the lead for the first time from Kyle Busch on lap 480 with an aggressive “rubbing is racing” pass. Junior put the nose of his No. 88 Chevy against the inside quarter panel of Busch’s No. 18 Toyota and refused to lift as the 2 cars entered the turn. The result was Kyle Busch getting loose up the race track and Junior going into the lead.
Did Kyle Busch think the pass by Earnhardt was a clean one? “Yeah, I was holding him up. I sucked,” said Busch. So it was good for him. I mean, he took the lead. No harm, no foul.”
Earnhardt described his pass for the lead this way: “I thought I had a nose on him getting into three and knew he was going to get down and crowd a little bit but I had to try to hold my ground. We were racing for the lead with just a few laps to go, so I think I did what any other driver probably would have done.”
The strong run by Dale Earnhardt Jr, and the disappointment he voiced in not winning after the race left no doubt that Earnhardt has the will to win. With consistent finishes near the front and a crew chief who knows how to adjust the car those wins are around the corner.
In his mind Earnhardt thought he had the race won with around 7 pals to go – as did his fans. “I was thinking at the end that I was meant to win that damn race,” Junior said. “Hell, I’m not sitting there leading that thing by seven car lengths thinking I’m about to lose.”
“I was definitely thinking I need to do what I think’s right every corner and try and win this race. I’ve got a hell of an opportunity right here and if I can put together decent laps, I might be able to keep the distance I had on him which was only about three or four car lengths.”
“We had the opportunity there to win a race, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the job done,” Dale Earnhardt Jr said. “It’ll probably bother me more and more as the night goes on. I’ll probably think about it a million times, what I could have done differently. But, you know, if I know what’s best for me, I should probably have a good attitude about what happened today.
“I’ll probably go into the next race and use it as momentum and confidence, as any other good driver would do, instead of worrying about how close we came.”
Junior reiterated his support for his new crew chief. “Steve’s a good crew chief,” said Earnhardt “and he’s going to give me more opportunities like this, I feel.”
But did Earnhardt feel like this proves he can compete and win? “Well, I ain’t really proved it to myself yet’” said Earnhardt.” I’ll let you know when I feel like I’m back, personally.”
I was impressed by Martin Truex Jr following his hard crash into the wall with a stuck throttle. A crash that took Kasey Kahne into the wall as well. Truex couldn’t get out of his car fast enough. Why? He wanted to check on Kahne and make sure he was alright.
Here’s your chance to have your say. What was your take on the race? Is Dale Jr back? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Kevin Harvick Comes Out of Nowhere to Shove Jimmie Johnson Out of the Way for the Win
Kevin Harvick led just one lap in the Auto Club 400 at California’s Auto Club Speedway today. But it was the one lap that mattered. Harvick chased down both Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson in the final laps – making a last lap pass for the lead on Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet just a few hundred yards from the finish line.
“Yeah, we led the right one, that’s for sure,” said a beaming Kevin Harvick of the battle to the final trip across the start finish line.
I have to admit that as I watched Harvick slice into the lead of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson I thought he had taken 4 fresh tires on the final pit stop. I was surprised to learn after the race was over that Harvick had managed to not only catch, but pass the two leaders on old tires. You’re not supposed to be able to chase down Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch like that. Especially not at Auto Club Speedway, a race track the pair has dominated.
Why was Harvick’s No. 29 Chevy so fast on those tires? “Our car was able to get some air pressure built up in the tires and we were able to really fire off there right off the bat up top,” explained Harvick.
The key to Harvick’s victory – other than a fast car that came to life on old tires – was an aggressive push against the bumper of Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy down the backstretch at 200mph on the final lap.
That push allowed Harvick to build up a full head of steam going into turn three. And it cost Jimmie Johnson a split second of concentration. That was all Harvick needed to make the pass as Johnson’s car broke loose ever so slightly.
“I was after one thing,” said Harvick, “that was to run the very top of the racetrack. I was hoping that he thought he was going to be going too fast to run the top of the racetrack and get loose.”
“I just wanted to roll in as easy as I could and lay back to the throttle, go into the center of the corner, hopefully be able to leave it down on the exit. It all played out okay.”
What did you think of Harvick’s strategy and what else do you have to say about the race. Here’s your chance to have your say or talk about your driver. Have at it in the comments below boys and girls.
Chris Jenkins over at ThatsRacin wrote an interesting story about Kevin Harvick’s push to carry on Dale Earnhardt’s legacy as he has a legitimate shot to win a 7th Cup Championship for Richard Childress Racing on Sunday.
Harvick now admits that he wasn’t comfortable at first driving what everyone knew was a re-painted Dale Earnhardt race car that would forever be a Black No. 3 in the hearts of Dale’s fans.
“I embraced it zero in the beginning,” Harvick said Thursday, as drivers prepared for Sunday’s Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I wanted to change the color of the car, I wanted new sponsors. If he wore a white suit, I wanted a black suit. I wanted zero to do with it.”
Today Kevin Harvick feels a little different. Read the full story then come back here and tell us what you think.
Tensions were running a little high in the garage area after the race.
Kevin Harvick secured his spot in the Chase with a win in the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway Sunday.
Harvick chose track position over fresh Goodyears to secure the victory. When other drivers pitted during the final caution Harvick stayed on the track in order to remain near the head of the pack.
That gamble paid off when Harvick passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with just a few laps remaining to take the lead and secure the win.
Dale Jr Very Blunt About It
Dale Earnhardt Jr didnâ€™t appreciate being questioned about his teamâ€™s chances of making the Chase by ESPN reporter Marty Smith.
â€œI really donâ€™t give a shit about it,â€ said Dale Earnhardt Jr. â€œIâ€™m going home.â€
â€œI busted my ass all day â€“ so Iâ€™m gonna hit the house.â€
It was pretty obvious that junior was very angry about another 19th place finish. It was also very obvious that he was in no mood to talk about it.
But the banter made one thing crystal clear. Earnhardt very obviously does care about his teamâ€™s performance â€“ and he is not happy about it.
You have to wonder how much longer Dale Jr will put up with the crew and equipment Hendrick Motorsports is putting behind him.
Logano and Newman Tussle
Ryan Newman and Joey Logano went toe to toe for a few minutes following the race. The conversation when Logano poked Newman in the chest and Newman returned the favor to Logano. NASCAR Officials had to step in and separate the two just before punches were thrown.
Newman was unhappy with Logano after Loganoâ€™s Toyota clipped the rear of Newmanâ€™s Chevy sending Newman spinning into the infield.
After the incident Logano complained that Newman always races everyone too hard. But hard tracing is what built NASCAR â€“ itâ€™s what fans pay to see. There is no such thing as racing too hard.
Will the tensions carry over to Bristolâ€™s Night Race next week? What do you think?
When Joey Logano arrived at Michigan International Speedway Friday he was still fired up about last Sundayâ€™s on-track contact and post-race confrontation with Kevin Harvick.
“I don’t take nothing back,” Logano said. “I’m a man of my word. I said what I said and that’s it.”
In response to Loganoâ€™s words about Kevin and DeLana Harvick that “His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do,” DeLana Harvick has began selling T-Shirts that say â€œI Wear the Firesuit in the Family,â€ with proceeds going to charity.
“It’s kind of agreeing with what I said, so I think it’s funny,” Logano said Friday at Michigan about the shirts.
In Loganoâ€™s eyes Kevin Harvick intentionally spun him. “I had a top-five finish going and it was taken away from me,” Joey Logano said. “I was mad. I’d had enough of that.” Donâ€™t expect either one of them to forget it any time soon.
“I guess I surprised a lot of people. It’s not the first time I’ve been mad, I just don’t show it a lot in public,” said Logano.
It looks like Harvick vs. Logano is the biggest rivalry in NASCAR right now. What do you think?
Photo courtesy NASCAR Media
Photos of the Kevin Harvick / Carl Edwards fight photos
The Associated Press has released photos of the fight between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.
There is almost as much controversy surrounding the release of the photos as the fight itself. It seems NASCAR and track officials were slow to release the photos — and did so only after a ton of complaints from the media.
Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards Get Into Fight at Charlotte
Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards were involved in a heated argument that turned into an all-out brawl Thursday afternoon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Harvick, Edwards and David Ragan were gathered in the Nationwide Series garage riding out an afternoon rainstorm when things turned ugly.
â€œThe deal with me and Harvick is between me and him and thereâ€™s nothing else to talk about. Thatâ€™s just what it is — we know where each other stand and thatâ€™s it.â€ ~ Carl Edwards after climbing off the hood of Kevin Harvick’s car.
It seems that Carl Edwards was still a little miffed because Kevin Harvick called him a â€˜pansy’ for riding around at the rear of the field at Talladega last Sunday.
After Edwards called Harvick out over his comments the two drivers exchanged intense words – then Harvick tried to turn and walk away.
That’s when Edwards grabbed him on the shoulder and spun Harvick around.
Harvick then shoved Edwards across the hood of the No. 33 Chevrolet – leaving a huge dent in the process.
Jeff Smith, who drives Harvick’s motor coach, stepped in and put Edwards in a headlock before the fight escalated any further.
The trouble has been brewing since Sunday at Talladega when Carl Edwards left a note with the pilot of Harvick’s Learjet that, according to The Charlotte Observer, read: “Kevin, Thanks for [profane] me on TV. I was really trying to screw up everyone’s day. Love, Carl.”
Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle must be loving this. If Edwards gets fined and docked championship points by NASCAR over the fight it will put the two of them alone at the top of the Championship standings.
Word is that a Lowe’s Motor Speedway staff photographer caught pictures of the whole thing – we’ll see if the speedway will release them.
If the motor coach driver hadn’t broken things up I think Harvick could have taken him. Who do you think would have won the fight?