Real Brawl Erupts at Darlington
Turns out that Montoya vs. Newman at Richmond was just the undercard. And one involving flyweights. The Show came Saturday night at Darlington. On the track and then in the garages.
Two NASCAR bad boys and their crews going at it, Las Vegas style where the testosterone spills out into the streets after fight itself.
It all started late in the Showtime Southern 500 the way most NASCAR fights do: Bumping and retaliation with no clear antagonist. In this case, it involved Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who were exchanging the sheet metal unpleasantries.
Caught up was Clint Bowyer. And, as with all innocent bystanders, he took the worst of it as he was sent slamming into the inside wall at Darlington.
The cars of Busch and Harvick were damaged but kept going.
Harvick said little – that wasn’t sarcastic and through gritted dentures, at least – about the wreck itself after emerging from the NASCAR hauler for a chat with officials.
Busch effusively gave his side of the on-track portion of the bout.
“It was tight racing after the restart there,” Busch said. “Harvick is up there on the top a little bit loose
and I had a run and I gave him room. He kind of came up off the wall. That’s kind of a bad angle, obviously. He lifted early to let me go into Turn 3 and I thought it was all good. Then he drives into the back of me there.
“He made my car loose all the way through the exit and just made a run for those two guys to get back on my inside. Then obviously Clint wrecked bouncing off of Harvick. Just uncalled for and just unacceptable racing. It’s in the last couple laps, but I gave him room off of two and I didn’t get the room. Just real unfortunate. We tore up a few good cars there.”
Harvick and Busch took the checkered flag and headed around the track on the cool down lap. Harvick apparently had not cooled down a whole lot.
Busch gave his side of the story.
“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 three and four.
“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,” Busch said. “When he pulled up next to me, I tried to back up. I put my car in reverse and tried to back up and I blew reverse out of the transmission.
“I tried to back up too fast and the transmission gears are so light that they can’t take that kind of
abuse. Blew reverse out so then I had to pull forward and kind of do a U-turn to get back to pit road. I was just trying to get away from the situation with Harvick and unfortunately he got to pit road before me so I pulled in behind him. He let the 47 (Bobby Labonte) go, but I knew if I tried to turn left or right he was going to run into me or block me or something.”
So, Busch pulled up behind Harvick, and…
“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,” Busch said.
Instead, Harvick slid out the window of his car, and walked over to Busch’s car.
Busch again was more descriptive of the events.
“He wanted to get out of his car I guess and wanted to fight. I knew that wasn’t going to be a good situation and when I saw him getting out of his car, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good situation.”
Harvick walked up to the window of Busch’s car and appeared to throw a punch at Busch.
As he did, Busch gunned his engine, rammed the back of Harvick’s car – which turned violently in to the inside pit wall – and drove off.
“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. 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 was 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.”
Harvick, in full sarcastic mode, told the media, “Things happened.”
Meanwhile, up pit road a way, the crews of the two teams were going at it. Shoving and pushing and yelling guy stuff and pointing fingers.
In between were NASCAR officials.
Busch and Harvick finally emerged from the NASCAR hauler.
Harvick was asked if things were now settled.
“You saw the end,” he said.
Next stop, Dover.
– Jim Pedley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments