Pedley: Bowyer Issues Uneasy Laugh After Darlington Dust-Up
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Kansas City, Kan. – I suspect Clint Bowyer’s take on the incident which occurred after Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Darlington is shared by a lot of NASCAR fans today: Good theater but on the wrong stage.
Thats is, it was dang entertaining but kind of scary because it happened in a place where something could have gone terribly wrong and an innocent person injured or worse.
The incident, of course, was the one between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, who happens to be Bowyer’s teammate at Richard Childress Racing.
The two had gotten together on the track late in the race. Exchanged a little paint and a lot of ill will. In the final encounter, Bowyer’s car was caught up and sent slamming into the inside wall.
Heading for the pits after the cool-down lap, Harvick kept the feud going by pulling even with Busch near pit-in and then forcing him back up onto the track. They both stopped on the track. Busch, with Harvick door-to-door with him, attempted to back up to get back to pit-in by throwing it into reverse.
Busch said he blew his reverse gear doing that so he looped around in his attempt to get back into the pits. Harvick got in just ahead of him and stopped. Harvick then unubuckled, climbed out and started to walk back to Busch’s car.
Busch, with no reverse gear, bumped Harvick’s car from behind just as Harvick reached his window
and threw a punch through it. Harvick’s car lurched violently left into the a pit stall – Bowyer’s pit stall – and stopped with its nose crumpled against the wall.
Bowyer’s car had already been taken to the garages but his crew was still packing up behind the wall.
It was all pretty entertaining Bowyer said Monday during a visit to Kansas Speedway.
“Kind of funny,” Bowyer, who said he couldn’t wait to get to a TV after the race to see a replay, said. “Everybody wants to see a little emotion. If there’s a fight going on, it’s just a natural instinct that you want to watch. You want to see somebody throw a fit and have a temper tantrum. Kind of humorous.”
But also very serious, Bowyer said. Serious because of where the off-track portion of the show occurred.
“That’s a dangerous situation,” Bowyer said. “After a race like that, there’s lots going on right there. People are trying to get to victory lane, which is right there. Obviously, Kevin didn’t intend for that to happen and Kyle probably didn’t either.”
Bowyer said Harvick’s car actually re-fired when it was pushed from behind. While the engine was not running when Harvick got out, the ignition was left on and the bump turned the engine over and with spark flowing to it, it restarted and it jumped to the left.
And that’s scary. If the car had re-fired and went straight down pit road, which can be packed with officials, teams and even fans after a race, somebody could have been seriously injured.
Bowyer said he isn’t sure what NASCAR will do about the situation. And that’s goes for all of us. In this era of having at it, officials have opened the door for wild racing. But they simply cannot allow that wildness to drift into areas where innocent bystanders are allowed.
“I know he’s my teammate,” Bowyer said, “and he’s on my side, but a car going down pit road with nobody in it, a runaway car…guys cleaning up the pits and it was actually in my pit…that’s an extreme situation to be in right there.”
So, yet another time, NASCAR officials will be placed in a tough spot, but one of their own design.
We will find out on Tuesday or Wednesday how NASCAR attempts to deal with having at it in the pits.
– Jim Pedley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments