Posted by Pete Pistone
Kevin Harvick gave his view of last week's incident with Kyle Busch (click here for Busch's side of the story) at Darlington that resulted in both drivers receiving a $25,000 fine and four race probation:
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MEETING YOU HAD YESTERDAY AND TONY STEWART MADE A COMMENT THAT MAYBE THEY SHOULD OUTLINE THE RULES MORE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU GUYS CAN HAVE AT IT?
“Well I mean the meeting was just basically NASCAR explaining how probation works and how we need to stay away from everybody basically and each other. So that was basically the jest of the meeting. I think as far as you talk about the Tony Stewart comment, I think for me it’s definitely to the point where it’s a little bit confusing with how it all works. I think when you look at the boys have it theme, it’s obviously changing as we go through the process. I think when you go back and you look at the very first major incident that you saw on the race track, I guess it would be Carl (Edwards) and (Brad) Keselowski in Atlanta and you saw the car go upside down. Carl was parked for hooking him in the right rear quarter panel and then it happened again and you see a lot of people coming out of the pits and retaliating and sometimes it’s a one-lap penalty and sometimes you are parked for the race and sometimes you look at the Keselowski and Hamlin thing at Homestead so there’s a lot of different things happening. I understand that it’s evolving but from a drivers standpoint you don’t really 100 percent understand how it works. Last week they stressed a lot to me that the penalties were for pit road violations after the race and the jeopardy that it put everybody in after the race and I understand that part. Yesterday it was all about being on probation and on the race track. So just a little bit confused about that. Nobody really had any clarification as to what we were supposed to do and not supposed to do other than we are on probation for four weeks and now it’s a penalty on the race track. I don’t really know if it was a penalty for the race track because we saw the same right-rear hook and obviously there was a lot that led up to that lap. I felt that Kyle (Busch) got into my door. I ran him down on the back straightaway. I got into him in (turn) three and we got three wide. Yesterday Kyle’s explanation was he had a flat tire and hooked me on the straightaway. It’s kind of one lie after the other and you see everything that happened after the race and for me the way that I was brought up and taught to race, when you hook somebody in the right-rear quarter panel that’s the equivalent of throwing your gloves off in hockey. That’s the point where everybody has reached the boiling point and basically the only answer I get out of Kyle is I’m a race car driver not a fighter but if you drive like that you’re gonna have to learn how to take care of yourself. It’s just a lot that went through the mind and for me it’s done and over with and we’ll move on. Just a lot of questions I think more than answers were a part of this week.”
HOW SPECIFIC DO YOU WANT IT TO BE?
“Well, there just has to be consistency. I can race either way. We can flip each other over. I don’t mind wrecking. I don’t mind getting wrecked. I don’t mind eye for an eye. I don’t mind any of that but just tell me what the rules are. Explain to me what the penalty is if you are going to hook somebody in the middle of the straightaway, if you are going to spin them out, if you are going to retaliate, what is the penalty? Tell me what the penalty is. A consistent answer.”
KYLE CALLED YOUR RACING UNCALLED FOR AND UNEXCEPTABLE, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU DID LAST WEEK THAT FITS THAT DEFINITION AND HOW DO YOU RACE HIM GOING FORWARD?
“Well I think when you look – after I got the I hooked you after I got a flat tire comment yesterday, the incident started off of turn two. We came off of turn two, I was driving straight behind the car in front of me. We can talk about being three feet off the wall or whatever, but I was directly behind the car in front of me coming up off the corner and at the time I didn’t even know it was the No. 18. The car hit me in the door and as soon as he hit me in the door I drove it to the left, we got to the other end, I let it go and ran into the back of him and ran him up the race track, took the position back. At that moment we got three wide and there wasn’t really a lot of room and things happened and he hooked me on the straightaway. Look the wrecking doesn’t bother me but the only thing that bothers me is the right-rear quarter panel because in my mind I know what that means. I don’t mind getting wrecked back. If you think it’s a payback for Homestead that’s fine. Those parts don’t bother me, I understand how it all works but when you throw them off its time to handle it.”
A LOT WAS TALKED ABOUT THAT THE PENALTIES WERE SUPPOSEDLY FOR WHAT TRANSPIRED AFTER THE RACE, BUT IS THAT REALLY FAIR ON THE DRIVERS PART BECAUSE AREN’T THE THINGS THAT LEAD UP TO WHAT TAKE PLACE AFTER THE RACE A DIRECT RESULT OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THE RACE. CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT IT IS?
“For me I didn’t use my car as a ram or dry to make a point with running into somebody on the race track or knocking them out of the way after the race, I didn’t do any of that stuff after the race. I wanted to handle it so that the guys didn’t have to do more work than they already did. The bottom line is I know there are changes this week with the officials and how they are going to approach things after the race, but I mean there was a split screen on TV, there were no NASCAR officials in sight and they got what they wanted and in the end you suffer the penalty for what it’s supposed to be on pit road but has carried over to the race track now when it was stressed to me in the hauler after the race and when I received my penalty on Tuesday it was stressed to me it was for the pit road. So it just doesn’t make sense to me. But it is what it is. It’s not like I can do anything about it. I’m not complaining about it, I just want to understand it. I don’t understand it. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I’m going to move forward and it’s done and over with. I don’t want to be the nice guy that has to understand why the penalties are ramping up like they used to be.”
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT WANTING TO UNDERSTAND, DO YOU FEEL LIKE NASCAR NEEDS TO GO MORE BLACK AND WHITE LIKE IN OTHER SPORTS?
“It can’t be for a certain circumstance and how you wake up in the morning as to how you think it needs to be treated. There has to be some guidelines on where it all is. You here the upper brass talk about wanting to do things more like the NFL or this or that, but you have to be consistent in order to do that.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH KYLE BUSCH AND YOU’RE COMPETING ACROSS ALL THREE SERIES, WHAT WOULD BE THE IDEAL SCENARIO FOR YOU?
“I guess I don’t understand that question.”
AS FAR AS YOU TWO GETTING ALONG, WHAT WOULD BE THE IDEAL SCENARIO?
“That probably won’t ever happen.”
DESPITE THE FACT HAT YOU GUYS ARE ON PROBATION SHOULDN’T THERE BE A DISCONSATION FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE SINCE THAT’S THE ULTIMATE BOYS HAVE IT EVENT?
“You know that’s a question that Mike Helton or somebody will have to answer. I don’t have the answer to that as far as what the rules are for that race. I don’t have the answer for that.”
HOW DO YOU RACE KYLE BUSCH GOING FORWARD AND DOES THIS ALSO IMPACT HOW YOU RACE EVERYBODY ELSE.
“It definitely affects how you race for the next four weeks. We got the ultimatum yesterday of the explanation of how probation worked and how NASCAR expected us to race on the race track was put to us very clear yesterday. I think the way that the next four weeks go was basically dictated to us yesterday in the NASCAR trailer.”
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