Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Speak Your Mind: Kyle and Kevin, "Boys have at it" gone too far?

Kevin Harvick spins after contact with Kyle Busch.
Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR
Darlington saw a new winner in Regan Smith, but that is not what everyone has on their mind as a weeklong conversation piece. "Have at it" has again come back into play: this time the disputants are Kevin Harvick vs. Kyle Busch, and last week we had Ryan Newman vs. Juan Pablo Montoya. The ladies at Skirts and Scuffs are speaking their minds on this topic. Although NASCAR has now announced their decision, here was the question we posed prior to that:


NASCAR said last season, "Boys have at it," but with the latest incident involving Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, was that taking "have at it" too far? Do you feel a penalty is in order? Why/why not? Also since penalties were handed down, do you agree with NASCAR's ruling?


                           Video of Kyle and Kevin, Courtesy of NASCAR Media



Melissa Wright: What I disagree with in the post-race altercation between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick is the fact that Kyle proceeded to move his No. 18 Toyota forward knowing that Harvick's No. 29 Chevrolet was unmanned in front of him and that there were bystanders that could have been injured. What was he thinking hitting an unguided 3400-pound car? Busch had no idea what direction it would turn in. That's one of the most reckless incidents I've seen.

When NASCAR says, "Boys have at it," that doesn't mean take out pit road. I feel that Harvick should have waited to approach Busch until either back at his hauler or another opportune time. Not while Regan Smith was doing his victory lap on his first Cup win at one of the toughest tracks to race at (Darlington). Especially now that Harvick has made his statements regarding the incident. He said that the media should be focusing more on Smith's win and not "the fight." If I were to be in Kyle's situation and were trying to avoid any confrontation like he claims, I would have either waited for Harvick to move or just taken the punch and dealt with it.

At minimum, I feel that Kyle Busch should be placed on a three weeks' probation as NASCAR did with Carl Edwards after flipping Brad Keselowski last year at Atlanta. Busch should be fined for safety issues on pit road if not suspended. If bumping the car hadn't been pure deliberation, I'd feel different. Him losing his reverse gear had no factor in moving forward. "Patience is a virtue" they say, and whoever outsmarts their opponent will come out on top.

Kyle Busch is currently -39 points from points leader Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick trails Busch by 11 points putting him fifth in the standings. With the new points system it could be a heavy blow for one or both of them if NASCAR were to deduct points. I have a feeling this feud isn't over. This week they are heading to Dover - it's a short track which means short tempers. Some things shouldn't happen on the frontstretch of a speedway, even if it is great action through the eyes of a fan.



Due to the result of the rules infractions committed by both Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch last weekend, I agree with the penalties that they received by NASCAR. Regardless of the amount of the fine, the statement is all about maintaining a safe environment on pit road. 


Molly Horn: Both drivers are at fault in this situation and I do believe that the “boys have at it” line was crossed. I can understand being angry about being wrecked in the last few laps, but at least go back and watch the replay before going on a rampage to attack someone. On the other hand, though assuming Kyle was aware that Harvick was going to come after him, he should not have parked directly behind him with the chance of getting blocked. The whole situation could have been avoided if both drivers would have taken a moment to calm down. I do believe that some sort of penalty should come out on both drivers to ensure that nothing like this happens again. Someone could have been seriously injured on pit road and Kyle is extremely lucky that no one was in the line of that car. People's lives shouldn't be threatened because two drivers feel like feuding after the race.


I believe that NASCAR did the right thing by punishing both drivers with a fine and placing them under four week probation. This kind of thing can't happen again and they need to know that. I just hope that NASCAR's decision has the desired effect and they cool their rivalry down a bit. The other people out on that track are more important than getting revenge on someone. 


Summer Dreyer: I didn't have a problem with what happened on the track. While I felt bad for Clint Bowyer and any driver that got caught up between the two, that's just the way racing works and those drivers are assuming those risks when they take to the track. What I thought was inappropriate was the move Kyle Busch pulled on pit road. Even if his reverse was broken, there was really no need to floor it and push it into pit road wall as hard as he did. 

As far as the penalties, I don't feel that Harvick did anything deserving of a penalty. He didn't do anything on-track to endanger himself or anyone else, with the exception of a slight shove to Busch's No. 18 car. Even then, it was minor at best and hardly did any damage to the car itself let alone anyone else. Once he returned to pit road, he didn't use his car as a weapon (like Busch did). He got out of the car and attempted to handle it that way. Busch instead drove off and endangered dozens of crew members when he rammed the car into pit road.

I don't mind "Boys, have at it", but either keep it on the track or get out of the car on pit road and in the garage. Don't endanger people who aren't protected by roll cages, HANS devices, and SAFER barriers. 



Kristina LaFountain: I definitely feel the altercation between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch this past weekend at Darlington was taking "boys have at it" too far. On or off the track, a retaliation can result in someone else being harmed. 

The incident between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski at Atlanta is a prime example of how taking it too far can result in someone almost being seriously injured. 

There was no reason for Harvick to go after Busch on pit road and there was no reason for Busch to shove Harvick's car into the pit road wall and take the chance of injuring innocent bystanders. 

I understand NASCAR is a competitive sport and when someone intentionally takes you out, there's going to be anger, but trying to settle it out on the track while cars are traveling at 170 mph or on pit road where people can be harmed is not the way to settle it. There is nothing wrong with yelling back and forth or getting in each other's faces, because this keeps it between the two drivers involved. 

I definitely think the penalties against both drivers are fair. Both Busch and Harvick were active players in the incident and therefore should endure the punishment. 

Perhaps the next time a driver thinks about retaliating and the term "boys have at it" they should think about how far they want to take it and the consequences that go along with it. 

Lacy Keyser: Basically what Kevin did was out of anger because he had a car to win,  so did Clint and Kyle hitting Kevin caused them both to wreck and that angered Kevin. If its between you and that driver keep it between you and them. I hate when another driver gets taken out because of actions by others. Clint was the poor soul in the whole thing. 


Kevin at least had the gall to get out of the car and face Kyle. However Kyle acted very immature and pushed Kevin's car. I'm sorry but what was he thinking? What if a fan was there, what if a crew member was standing there? Watching the video I saw a 29 put crew member have to jump to miss Kevin's car, I am sorry but that crosses line. 

I do not think Kevin should be fined or put on probation, really all he did was go after Kyle. I found nothing that Kevin did was endangering another person.

I disagree (with the penalties) I think Kevin should have been fined for the race incident. The 25 grand, I am not for, I'm sorry but what did he really do that was so damanging? I also feel that Kyle should have gotten more (than Hervick) but well I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Genette Wood: The on-track drama: I believe Busch got loose and the wreck was no one's fault.

The post-race drama: from the viewer's point of view, it seemed like Harvick was going to ram into Busch's car. Busch *followed* him onto pit road to avoid an altercation. Harvick stopped his car, trapping Busch behind him. Personally, I believe it was Harvick's own fault Busch was forced to wreck his car on pit road.

Penalties: if/when penalties occur, they should be for the post-race drama. However, I think anything steeper than maybe 2 weeks of probation is an overreaction.



Rebecca Kivak: I would have considered the issues at Darlington between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick simply a "boys have at it" deal until Busch punted Harvick's racecar into the wall on pit road. At that point it became a major safety issue. Even though his reverse gear had apparently broken, Busch took one heck of a chance. There were people on pit road at that time, and Busch is lucky no one got hurt. Busch said he wanted to avoid the confrontation, but he still chose to get on Harvick's bumper on pit road and drive into Harvick's car, which didn't help!

Harvick is the kind of driver who will go up to another when he has a problem with him (just ask Ricky Rudd and Greg Biffle, among others), so I wasn't surprised to see him go up to Busch. And I didn't have a problem with it. Drivers expressing their emotion is a part of the sport. And I admit - I like to see a fistfight here and there! But once their racecars were involved, it got downright dangerous, not just for them, but for the bystanders on pit road.

If the two drivers keep it between themselves, that's one thing, but when it puts others at risk, that's another. That's why I think both drivers will get probation, though frankly I'm not sure that Harvick should. Since he was the one who started it on pit road, it's possible NASCAR could take this into account when deciding on a penalty. I'm not sure if the probation should last for three races, like with Carl Edwards after he flipped Brad Keselowski at Atlanta, or for the rest of the year. You can argue that that initial penalty wasn't enough because of what later happened with Edwards and Keselowski at Gateway, and the number of cars that were wrecked in the resulting fracas. Busch and Harvick do race against each other in all three series, so if this feud gets out of control, it can collect a lot of innocent cars.

NASCAR needs to send a message that that kind of behavior on pit road is unacceptable - that includes possibly fining Busch in regard to the safety issue - and to stop it from getting to the point where it can affect others in the multiple series they race in.

I like the rivalry between these two drivers - we know how much fans like rivalries, and you have to admit, this could be a good one - but it shouldn't put others in danger.



With the penalties having been announced, even though I wasn't sure if Kevin Harvick should even be penalized, I do understand where NASCAR was coming from in deciding to penalize him. NASCAR Senior Vice President Steve O'Donnell explained today on Twitter that NASCAR took into consideration where the incident between Harvick and Kyle Busch occurred. "It all has to do with where it took place on end of pit road with safety an issue for people still out there," he tweeted in response to a comment. He also tweeted "what happened on pit road was a result of KH actions." Earlier I wondered if NASCAR would take this into account, and it looks like they did. Even though I had no problem with Harvick confronting Busch, I agree that "boys, have at it" should not include pit road.

I would still argue that Busch's penalty should have been stiffer, because he made the reckless decision to ram Harvick's unmanned car into the pit wall while people were out on pit road. Someone could have been seriously injured. Even though Busch's reverse gear had broken, when he made the decision he did, he used his car as a weapon whereas Harvick did not.

A four-race probation is minor in terms of punishment, and the fine of $25,000 is low, so to me that means NASCAR wants this rivalry to continue. But NASCAR is sending Busch and Harvick a message that their rivalry should never put others at risk on pit road. To touch on what I said earlier, I just hope that other drivers in the three series they race in don't get entangled in their feud as well.



Unique Hiram: "Boys, have at it" might be a great thing for NASCAR; however, at what point is enough just enough? Will it take someone (e.g. pit crew member, media professional or innocent bystander) getting hurt in order for some stricter rules to be in place?

Yes, I am highly upset about the latest antics of Kyle Busch. Granted, there was a good amount of trading paint between Busch and Harvick during the final laps of the race. However, why would you intentionally wreck someone or two people in this manner and then top the night off by sending an unmanned vehicle into the pit wall? I understand that tempers were high, but Busch took things to an entire new level with his reactions to being hit in the rear. Let's remember, Harvick did not spin him out, even though I am sure he could have if he had chosen to do so.

Personally, if you want to let your frustrations out, then get out the car and use some hand-to-hand combat.  Take some old school lessons from the Allison brothers, remember that fight.

Last thing, I don't believe the excuse about the reverse gear being broken because Busch sure did put it in reverse to head down pit road. Go figure!

It is my hope that NASCAR handles this situation before it gets further out of control and then innocent people get hurt because a driver decides to use his vehicle as a defensive weapon.



I think that NASCAR should have taken a harder line with Busch due to the fact that he literally moved Harvick's car out of the way with his own car.  Busch should have been penalized some Sprint Cup points to knock him down quite a few spots in the standings, a larger fine and probation for at least 6 months.  I respect the fact that Harvick stopped the car, got out and confronted Busch straight up.  It amazes me that "The Bad Boy of NASCAR" continues to do things on/off the track during/after a race but gets a slap on the hand.  I guess it will take someone either getting seriously injured or killed until "The Boys Have It" boundaries are clearly defined.  Granted, I love to see the passion of the drivers in this phenomenal sport; however, I don't like the fact that some of these penalties will not make a driver think twice about doing some things that could cause serious damage to other people due to their feud.

My questions to NASCAR: When is enough just enough? When will the punishment fit the actions? Will it take a serious accident or worse for changes to be made, like always?

Amanda Ebersole: The only reason I am concerned about this whole incident is the dangers on pit road. Post-race, there are lots of people standing around and that is not the time to use your car to retaliate in anger against a competitor. 

Yes I do believe a penalty is in order, simply for the reason I stated, to show that this cannot be tolerated. Someone could have gotten hurt; thankfully no one did. 

If you want to fight, settle it like when Bobby and Donnie Allison fought Cale Yarborough ... a good 'ole fashion infield fist fight. If anyone gets hurt, at most it's a black eye. 


I do not agree with NASCAR's ruling, points should have been deducted to show this will not be tolerated. A monetary fine of $25,000 is nothing to someone who makes hundreds of thousands per race. The 4 race probation is fine, but I think a message should have been sent, loud and clear that cars are not to be used as payback...especially on pit road. 


Katy Lindamood: NASCAR loves seeing rivalries between drivers and fans love it too. Whether you are fan or one or just dislike one more than the other, most fans will agree that nothing get's them more excited than a good rivalry between some of the top drivers in the series. That's one of the reasons people loved Dale Earnhardt so much - he always had a rivalry brewing

Did "boys have at it" go too far? Absolutely not. With a handful of laps left it's anyone's race to win, or in the case of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick lose. Drivers are vying for every piece of real estate on the track and occasionally their competitive nature gets the best of them. What starts out as "just a racing deal" turns into more and sometimes there are unintended consequences. Still it's expected, especially at a track like Darlington, that drivers are gonna beat and bang. It could have been any two drivers battling for position that led to the accident that took Bowyer out of contention, but it wasn't. It was two of the most volatile drivers on the circuit.

As for penalties I've thought long and hard about this. We know now that both drivers will be put on probation an that they will be fined. Is this really the right solution? In my opinion it's not. NASCAR has said that the fines and probation stem from the actions of both drivers on pit road following the race. While I agree that both were in the wrong with their actions it's my opinion that a stiffer penalty should have gone to Harvick. 

With Harvick the intention was there. He had to take the time to unbuckle himself from the car, remove the wheel, and climb out of the car all the while knowing he would storm to Busch's car.  We can't say for sure Harvick would have punched Busch, but given the hot tempers of both drivers it's a likely scenario. With Busch there was no intent to hurt anyone. It was a split second decision that could have injured a large number of people. No, it wasn't the best decision he could have made but ultimately no one was injured. 

Fining both drivers is reasonable. Even though Busch didn't act with intent to hurt anyone the possibility is always there. Of course by the same token Harvick leaving his car unmanned sitting in the middle of pit road wasn't the wisest decision either.

Even though NASCAR has said that probation covers all three series, it's my real concern that the two will move the rivalry to the Truck Series where another completely innocent driver who is running for that series title will be the unfortunate bystander that gets taken out by their "competitive nature." 




*The opinions expressed in this post are those of each writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this site, its other contributors, or its Administrators.*

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