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Real Brawl Erupts at Darlington

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 8 2011

A NASCAR official steps between angry crew members from the teams of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

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

Kevin Harvick was smiling but not talking after Saturday night's donnybrook in Darlington. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

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

Kyle Busch is escorted to a meeting with NASCAR officials after the race at Darlington. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

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 jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 8 2011
9 Comments

9 Comments »

  • Terry says:

    Henpecked vs. Kylechild…..
    Move along …..lets go folks….nothing to see here…move along….
    This a baseball show hissy fit……not a real hockey fight.
    One is chicken*#@&…..and the other one is glad of it.
    This is now concidered old school have at it ?
    …….pppplllleeeeezzzzzz…..

  • SB says:

    How convenient that Kyle seems to forget how many cars he has moved out of his way during races, yet is highly offended when someone repays the favor. And really, sitting in a car surrounded with a roll cage and highly padded seat, wearing a helmet…he was worried about Harvick taking a swing at him? Keep the shield down and turn your head, Kyle. Duh.

  • Sue Rarick says:

    Although not a fan of Harvick, I do feel kind of sorry for him. He’s now in his late 30’s only has 16 wins and no Cup championships. And at his age may never get one. And being from California where youth rules it has to be hard for both he and Delana to now be middle age.

    It’s also probably why he waited in his car till his crew came along to back him up. At his age he’s a lot slower than he used to be.

    What bothers me is that he decided having a temper tantrum over what he’s done to so many other drivers took away from the feel-good moment of Reagan Smith’s victory. For that he should be ashamed.

  • Mr. Tony Geinzer says:

    I hate to be Mr. Obvious, but, Kyle or Kevin have NOT earned their Role Model License and I believe that this grew out of Hamlin’s anger that Clint kept the Trophy last fall and this RCR-Gibbs feud is not winning any new friends on either side.

  • steven says:

    As long as Nascar allows unsportsmanlike conduct on the track big time racing will start to look more and more like Pro Wrestling. When a driver or a group of fans eventually get hurt the only winners will be the lawyers. Nascar racing is appealing to the lowest common denominator in order to attract more fans thus increasing the France family wealth. I call it short term vision.

  • kylehater says:

    kyle showed what a pansy he really is. Hope harvick gets his time with kyle, he will make rowdy cry like the baby he is.

  • slander q. libel says:

    Busch effusively gave his side of the on-track portion of the bout.

    … until he got to the part where he ran down the track and hooked Happy into the wall. Then the smarmy little coward sidestepped the incident like a little ballerina princess he avoided the question.

    • kwp says:

      Harvick wasn’t concerned about who got wrecked those last few laps.
      And guess what . He got wrecked. He can go around and act like he was the victim but he wasn’t . He was an aggressor. If you are not in the outside lane at Darlington, 9 times out of 10 you are trying to make something happen. Same for Clint. If you are going to the inside, you are taking a chance. The only inside move I saw that was innocent was Kyle’s “dive to the inside”, as the announcers stupidly stated, on 5 to go, turn 3 I think. Harvick pushed Kyle to the apron as he rear ended his teammate. People need to look at all the video of the incident before they jump to conclusions. The only thing that Nascar will find fault with Kyle will be what happened on Pit road. Harvick’s crew shouldn’t of even been out there. Every member of his crew tries to instigate. Especially his crew chief and spotter.
      Everyone should have just cooled down and looked at the video.

  • DW says:

    Everything that Kyle did was right. Just like Newman, Harvick thinks that its okay for him to push people around but when they push back they don’t like it. Well too bad Ryan and Kevin. I hope NASCAR sees it the right way and that is the right way.