Bob Pockrass, SceneDaily.com
Kevin Harvick attempts to punch Kyle Busch as Busch hits Harvick’s car during wild postrace confrontation
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Angry over an accident with fewer than four laps remaining in the Showtime Southern 500, Kevin Harvick said afterward that he wanted to “knock the piss” out of Kyle Busch.
Harvick tried but wasn’t successful. With both cars stopped nose-to-tail at the entrance of pit road, Harvick got out of his car and approached Busch’s car. Before he could throw a punch at Busch, Busch whisked off, hitting Harvick’s car, which veered by crewmen and into a wall on the entrance to pit road.
“He just ran into me twice,” Harvick said as he walked briskly toward Busch’s hauler. “I was getting ready to knock the piss out of him.”
Harvick was stopped at Busch’s hauler by NASCAR officials and didn’t get the chance to talk to Busch until several minutes later in the NASCAR hauler. They were called tomeet with officials because of their postrace altercation and not for the accident that triggered the tempers, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.
Busch said he had blown reverse out of his transmission after backing up on the track to get to pit road and had little choice but to run into Harvick's car. NASCAR inspected Busch's car and he didn't have reverse.
"[Before he got out], I knew if I tried to turn left or right, he was going to run into me or block me or something," 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. 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."
Harvick said he was not worried about any potential penalties and didn’t know if any would be forthcoming.
“I have no idea – I don’t give penalties,” Harvick said. “I don’t have any answers for you.”
Busch, who called Harvick’s racing “uncalled for,” didn’t seem to mind being called to the NASCAR hauler.
“Good to hash it out now; might as well,” Busch said.
Busch left the hauler while Harvick talked outside, and Harvick wouldn’t say what was discussed.
“I don’t have anything to tell you other than ‘not much,’” Harvick said.
Harvick, who finished 17th, is fifth in points and has a 41-point cushion on 11th. Busch, who finished 11th, is third in points and has a 52-point cushion on 11th. It is unlikely any points penalty would be so severe that it would drop either of the two drivers out of the top 10.
“Obviously, we were just racing hard and doing what we had to do at the end and things happen,” Harvick said. “That’s it.”
Before going into the hauler, Busch’s version of the accident was a little bit different. In the accident, Harvick tapped Busch, got inside of him to make it three-wide with Clint Bowyer on the inside, and Bowyer went spinning hard into the inside wall. Busch then got into the back of Harvick, who spun but was able to continue.
Busch said he wasn’t at fault.
“It was tight racing after the restart, and Harvick was up on the top, a little bit loose, and I had a run and I gave him room and kind of came off the wall and then he lifted early to let me go into Turn 3... I thought it was all good and then he drives in the back of me,” Busch said.
“It made my car loose all the way through the exit and [I] just made a run for those two guys to get back on the inside and obviously Clint wrecked. It’s just uncalled for. It’s just unacceptable racing. It’s in the last couple of laps, but I gave him room off of [Turn] 2; I didn’t get the room.”
In addition to not getting room, he almost got decked but instead caused more damage to Harvick’s car.
"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," Busch said.
Harvick’s car owner Richard Childress said he didn’t have a problem with Harvick’s actions after the race.
“I believe in the driver standing up for what he believes in,” Childress said. “Always have, always will. … Things have a way of working out. It’s just high pressure and racing.”
This isn’t the first time that Harvick and Busch have had issues. They got together at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the finale last year. Harvick also has had run-ins with Busch’s teammates Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin at Joe Gibbs Racing.
“The question is how do you reconcile that?” JGR President J.D. Gibbs said. “That’s kind of the question right now. They’ve had issues in the past and kind of moved on. Joey had issues with Harvick in the past and moved on [and] Denny, so I think we can.”