Kevin Harvick explains why he needed to put the bumper to Kyle Busch at NHMS
With under 10 laps to go, Kevin Harvick was running down Kyle Busch for the win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Harvick had a long run car all day, it was showing at the race came to a close.
He put the bumper to him. Right at the Toyota sign, Kyle Busch skated up the hill and Ford went on to take the win with Harvick.
There’s an art to that…
“Your goal is to not wreck them. Your goal is to move them out of the groove. And get away from them far enough because you know they’re gonna be mad,” Kevin Harvick stated from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway media center.
“Today, that was the situation. I knew his car was going to get wide and he was going to be tough to pass. Kyle Busch is one of the toughest to pass when he has control of the race.”
“For me, that was the moment that I needed to make it happen. We were able to execute and drive away.”
On the radio, the crew then told Kyle Busch to go get him. His response, “You’re delusional. Were you not paying attention? I was holding him up.”
After the race…
After the race, Kyle Busch said he expected Kevin Harvick to try to race him and wait for the closing laps to use the bump and run.
Did you think about waiting until one or two laps to go?
“No. I figured that’s exactly what he was thinking. I knew I needed to take the opportunity as soon as I could get it. I knew he was thinking late,” Harvick explains.
“I needed to do it when he wasn’t expecting it. The more opportunities to get in his wheelhouse, in his thought process the less chance that you have. He’s that good.”
“If you wait until 2-3 to go, the [corner] entries are going to get shallower, he’s going to start grinding on the brakes a little bit harder. He’s going to put him in a position to not get hit. He’s going to go on defense and start to get really aggressive too.”
“I wanted to do it earlier just to try and catch him off guard.”
Is it clean to pass with a bump and run when the guys finishes 2nd?
“These races are hard to win. When you’re in the position, you have to do what you have to do for your team. You want to do everything that you can to not spin him out.”
“Not wreck him. Just make it as clean as possible. And try to accomplish the bump and run.”
“Today, we were able to accomplish it well and win the race.”
How do you use a bump and run without wrecking somebody?
“It is a fine line. You wanna try to get them right as they’re at the apex, coming off the brake. That’s right when the back of the car is the lightest.”
“You don’t want to get them while they’re turning off the wall into the corner and back them into the fence. It’s a fine line of trying to get it right.”
“Sometimes you get it right. And sometimes you don’t.”
Do playoff points matter?
“Absolutely, that’s really what you’re racing for right now. Winning is the way that you get the most.”
“At some point, it will be leaned on over the last 10 weeks. You go to Richmond and the Roval. You’ve seen how many cars we’ve crashed at the Roval so far. So, that’s going to be survival.”
“You just never know what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a great event with all the unknowns. But, you could be the unknown of getting in the big wreck in turn 1 or crashing on your own. That first round just has a lot of unknowns.”
“Right now, you have 45 points. That’s creeping in a whole race. That’s really what you’re trying to guard yourself with are those playoff points.”
“Look at Kyle Larson last year, he had a bad race and an engine failure. Done. He had a bunch of playoff points and [was] considered a favorite to go to Homestead.”
“There’s two ways out. Playoff points or a win.”
“It’s short track racin’ and I’ve won lots and lots of short track races growin’ up. Not one of them did I win without bumping somebody,” #4 crew chief Rodney Childers explained after the race.
“If you listen to Kyle’s radio as soon as it happened. He said, ‘Man, I was holding him up.’ ”
“It’s just part of it. You gotta do what you gotta do. On the other hand, we’re sitting there watching the radar and there’s people complaining about it raining.”
“In those situations, you have to try to win the race.”