Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Post: Saturday Night Fights … Busch vs. Harvick

On occasion Skirts and Scuffs hands the wheel over to a guest. Today we are please to have Lisa Janine Cloud join us for her take on the Kyle Busch vs. Kevin Harvick incident from Saturday night’s race at Darlington. Janine, who say’s she’s “not a fan of Kyle at all,” looks at the incident from the unpopular side of the argument.


Stay tuned to Skirts and Scuffs. Later today we will address some of the issues and penalties that may be imposed in the latest edition of Speak Your Mind. For now enjoy Janine’s take.


Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR
Kevin Harvick spins after an incident with Kyle Busch on lap 365 during the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Kyle Busch may never win the most popular driver contest. He doesn’t seem to care, though; he’s too busy leading laps and keeping the JGR #18 Toyota at the front of the pack to be concerned with popular opinion. In fact, he often seems to enjoy his role as the heel, the villain. To some NASCAR fans, his no-holds-barred style brings to mind the cage-rattling days of the Intimidator.

So it should come as no surprise that he was involved in the incident that brought on the green-white-checkered finish at the Southern 500 on Saturday night. He’s not known as “Rowdy” Busch for nothing, folks, so when Kevin Harvick and his RCR #29 Budweiser Chevrolet banged into him with a handful of laps to go, he didn’t stop to consider the circumstances that might have led to that incident … he did what came naturally … he banged back.

Oh, that’s not the whole story of course. Both sides have a story to tell about the closing laps, each with his own point of view, but the bottom line is that Harvick hit Busch, Clint Bowyer hit the wall, and Kyle retaliated for what he saw as “unacceptable racing.” The ensuing caution set the stage for a green-white-checkered finish that allowed Regan Smith to capture his first win. Yet as exciting as it was to see the Furniture Row team get their first Cup win, all eyes were on the 18 and the 29 as they tangoed around the cool-down lap.

ESPN.com’s David Newton quoted Busch:
"After the race I was just kind of cooling down and talking to Dave [Rogers, crew chief] on the radio about that I wanted to talk to him in the hauler about something and I see the Harvick car, the 29 come up flying up on my inside through [Turns] 3 and 4," Busch said. 
"Instead of going to pit road I thought he was going to force me into the inside of the pit road wall so I gave myself a little bit of room and turned up to go back up onto the race track like I would for another cool down lap and he followed me. When he pulled up next to me, I tried to back up."
At that point Busch’s reverse gear evidently went south, so he had to turn around to get onto pit road. Busch said that Harvick beat him there, but it looked like Kyle intentionally let the 29 enter pit road first and then pulled right up to him.

Masterfully understating the obvious, Busch said that he guessed Harvick wanted to fight, so he waited in his car while Kevin, after what seemed to be some deliberation, got out of the 29 and strode purposefully to the 18. Just as Kevin leaned in to punch, Kyle made a split-second decision to hit the gas and push the 29 car out of his way, thus avoiding the fate his older brother Kurt suffered at the hands of Jimmy Spencer some years ago. Had Busch realized the car would turn left and crash into the wall where people could possibly have gotten injured, he might made a different choice but he wasn’t thinking so much as he was reacting.

Busch said, "I made a judgment call there and it wasn't one of the best choices that I had, but I pushed his car out of the way on pit road and unfortunately there were men walking down pit road. 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."

While Busch’s choice might not have been the best, it would not have been necessary at all had Harvick simply stayed in the car, controlled himself, and taken his case to the NASCAR officials instead. “Happy” doesn't roll like that, though, so “Rowdy” is taking the heat for something that could have been prevented with a bit of restraint on the part of the older, supposedly more seasoned driver.

This conflict isn’t over. Not by a long shot. Harvick has decided to race the truck this week. And not the big brown one, either. Stay tuned …

1 comments :

I agree, some of this could have been avoided had Harvick not gotten out of the car when he did. I'm not saying that he should have let it go but getting out of his car at that moment wasn't the best move. I'll admit, it was exciting to watch, just glad no one was hurt by the car.

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