DOVER, Del. – A second meeting with NASCAR officials at Dover International Speedway doesn’t appear to have done much to diffuse the animosity between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. The drivers were penalized $25,000 this week and placed on probation through June 15 for an altercation on pit road following last weekend’s race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
On Thursday, NASCAR officials called both drivers to the hauler for another talk prior to their participation in practice sessions for Friday’s Truck series race at Dover.
Both drivers said they understood NASCAR official will not tolerate any similar incidents in Sunday’s FedEx 400, or any other race for that matter.
That turned out to be about the only common ground the drivers shared.
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“It was just basically NASCAR explaining how probation works and how we need to stay away from everybody basically, and each other,” Harvick said.
“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. (Thursday) it was all about being on probation and on the race track.
“So, (I’m) just a little bit confused about that.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Busch took an opposite view. He said he understands the limits to what NASCAR will tolerate “perfectly.”
“It’s the ‘boys, have at it’ that happens out on the race track and it seems like they allow us to police ourselves pretty simply out there,” Busch said.
“When matters get taken into the drivers’ hands or anything else on pit road, where innocent bystanders can be injured or something, NASCAR is going to step in and they’re going to intervene.
“To me it’s not a gray area, it’s pretty simple.”
Harvick said he did not like Busch hooking his right-rear quarter-panel, which spun him out on the track.
“In my mind, I know what that means. I don’t mind getting wrecked back,” he said.
“Those parts don’t bother me. I understand how it all works, but when you throw them off its time to handle it.”
According to Busch, he changed lines on the track because he was worried a flat tire might have caused him to wreck. Harvick called that explanation “one lie after another.”
Busch stuck to his explanation.
"I did have a left-rear tire flat, and I wasn’t sure that, if I turned too hard to the right to stay off of him or to get away from him, that the car would actually spin out the wrong way – my car would,” Busch said.
“So, believe that, for what it’s worth. I think there were some in-car cameras you can see. I did have to come to pit road during that caution period to change left-side tires, because they were flat.”
Harvick said if Busch planned to continue driving that way, he’s “going to have to learn how to take care of himself.”
Told of Harvick’s comment, Busch replied, “Apparently, he’s watching too much hockey.” Harvick is an avid Philadelphia Flyers fan.
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