Kevin Harvick on the incident with Chastain: “When you hook somebody in the right rear in our sport, that’s basically giving them the middle finger.”
Kevin Harvick elaborated on the Ross Chastain incident mid-week
On Saturday, Kevin Harvick charged to the front of the field in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway. By stage 3, he found himself in a battle with Ross Chastain and Brad Keselowski.
With a lap car ahead, Harvick ran the bottom. Chastain moved to the middle groove. The leaders ran three wide through the middle of turns one and two. Harvick nosed ahead on the bottom.
Chastain punched the gas and got to the right rear of Harvick off turn two. Harvick rolled out of the throttle in an attempt to make it side by side off the narrow turn two at Darlington.
They didn’t make it. With the air removed from the right side of the car, Harvick got loose on the bottom. He slid up into Chastain and they both pancaked the back stretch wall.
“Honestly, I saw a good opportunity with a lap car and picked him with a lap car. Going through traffic and got by him on the bottom,” Kevin Harvick explained via his weekly radio show ‘Happy Hours’ on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“Then, he just hung on my door. Going off turn two, when you’re stuck on somebodies door like that, there’s no possible way that the guy on the inside’s going to make it.”
“I was completely out of the gas. I had the steering wheel turned. When you get that close to somebodies door, it just sucks the car around. We wound up hitting the fence.”
“I can deal with that part of it. In that position right there, it was a racing deal. But, on his part, he’s trying to keep the lead and probably has never been in that position before. And I’ve wrecked in that position two or three times trying to pin somebody down or being pinned down.”
Hooked in the right rear
After the two drivers pancaked the wall, they both bounced off the safer barrier and moved toward the inside of the back stretch to collect the car. After the cars were collected, Chastain drove down the track and hooked Harvick in the right rear.
Being hooked in the right rear isn’t something Harvick has even taken lightly. Kyle Busch pulled that move on Harvick once in 2011. Ironically, that was also at Darlington.
In that 2011 case, Harvick chased Kyle Busch around the track after the race. He then got in front of him on the pit lane and parked it. As Harvick climbed from the car he came walking toward the car of Busch. Kyle Busch stepped on the gas and push the evacuated machine of Harvick down the pit lane and into the inside wall.
In this case last weekend at Darlington Raceway, Harvick came to a stop in the pit box of Chastain. He only waited there a minute before heading off to the garage area.
Harvick’s not happy…
“When you hook somebody in the right rear in our sport, that’s basically giving them the middle finger. Telling them that you don’t care what they think.”
“Coming off the corner, he put us in that position to get loose. We wound up getting loose and hitting the fence. Then to hook somebody in the right rear and shove them nose first into the wall — I mean, if that’s how you’re going to react from every situation that you end up getting into on the race track — That’s probably not something that everybody is going to look at as good, going forward from a car owner or driver perspective.”
“That’s not something that we haven’t seen out of him a couple times. Maybe it doesn’t get shown on TV. But, he’s had that reaction with a couple people through the years.”
“Afterwards, I’m just glad my son was there. Because I probably would have made the whole situation a lot worse. It was just he and I at the race track this week.”
“The part that I was the most riled up around was definitely the getting hooked in the right rear.”
Kevin Harvick’s done with Xfinity races
After that crash, social media exploded. Harvick classed the move by Chastain an ‘inexperienced’ move. The fans were upset with Harvick noting that Cup drivers should expect to run into inexperience in a lower series.
A bulk of them also put the blame on Harvick. Chastain was in a rare ride with Chip Ganassi Racing. He dominated the first two stages of the race. When Harvick got there, he was crashed out.
Harvick ran just five NASCAR Xfinity Series events in 2018. That’s his least amount of participation since 2002. He did come out of 2018 with a NXS win which he claimed at Atlanta.
However, Harvick is entering a new chapter. Stewart-Haas Racing is strong! He has 7 wins at the top level of NASCAR. More wins there than he has Xfinity Series starts. At this point, it’s not something he needs anymore of.
“For me, I don’t have to worry about it anymore. For me, I think that will be the last Xfinity Series race that we put on the schedule.”
“I feel like with the two-day schedules and my family — I just needed to focus on my Cup car. It’s not to say that I won’t run one here or there if we have a sponsor or if there’s a new race track that’s intriguing.”
“For me, there’s no more planned Xfinity races. That will be the last one.”
“Like this weekend, the practices were back to back. I needed to be in the Cup hauler. Making sure that my car was 100% dialed in. There’s really no reason to go out and run the Xfinity races with the way the schedules have become. In order to get the most out of my cup car.”
Kevin Harvick has run at least 1 Xfinity Series event since 1999. He ran the full season in 2001, picking up the NASCAR Busch Series championship. Over his twenty years in the division, he’s run 346 races with 47 wins.
His exit from the division comes at a time where the fans are in disgust of NASCAR Cup Series driver dropping down to run lower tier divisions. NASCAR has reacted by placing further and further limits each season to prevent the situation.
“It’s prefect. I started by missing the race at Darlington. And I ended by wrecking at Darlington. So, there you go.”
Related: Darlington Race Results – NXS
Related: NASCAR Xfinity limits updated (2018)