Kevin Harvick: “There’s a little frustration on the driver’s side because it has fallen on deaf ears.”
Before and again after, Kyle Busch knocked the Dover International Speedway rules package. Specifically, he comments were regarding an inability to pass.
Before the race, Busch noted the corner speeds were too high. After the race, Busch started that the package “sucked”.
Additionally, the #18 driver made comments regarding the communication level between the drivers and the sanctioning body. He noted that driver comments fall on deaf ears. That’s something he also said during the Dayton 500 media days as well.
This week, Kevin Harvick flipped the on-air switch for “Happy Hours” via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. He addressed the comments from Kyle Busch:
Kevin Harvick on the Dover rules package
“You look at the things he does and places he races, those are big comments from somebody like Kyle,” Harvick said of Busch. “Look at the facts, my car was 17 mph faster through the corner than it was last year and 4 mph slower on the straightaway.”
“That’s something the drivers have really talked about the last 3-4 years, getting the corner speeds down. That’s where some of the frustration showed up at Dover.”
“We’ve slowed the cars on the straight, but the center of the corner speeds are still up at most every racetrack we go to. So I understand and agree with his frustrations.”
Kevin Harvick on driver communication with NASCAR
Kevin Harvick feels the same way:
“From a driver’s standpoint, in the past we started the driver’s council and that has kind of faded away this year and there’s a little frustration on the driver’s side because it has fallen on deaf ears over the past couple of years,” Harvick continued.
“I think a lot of Kyle’s (Busch) frustration and what he’s saying bleeds over to other drivers. You don’t feel like your voice is being heard. … The driver’s voice is not being heard very much on things when it comes to competition, especially when it comes to this particular style of rules package, and then you get to Dover and it boils over after the first 11 weeks.”
“Before Dale Sr. passed, he was the kind of guy NASCAR trusted, could go to and say things and the drivers all trusted and said we’re on board with him. I don’t really feel there’s that type of communication since Dale Sr. left.”
“There’s no guy and no one really in the very top of the NASCAR executive side of things that has the experience inside the car that can relate to the drivers and say this is what these guys are feeling, what they’re saying and I understand their frustrations.”
“It’s a very tough, tough position that everything is in right now, after all this stuff is laid on the table by the race winner, (team owner) Bob Leavine and Kyle Busch. There’s a lot of things to digest here.”
Improving communication between the drivers and NASCAR
It should be noted that NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell responded to comments from Kyle Busch. He noted that NASCAR President Jim France was at the majority of the races this year.
The Drivers’ Council is being re-worked and is currently not in place for 2019. However, the President of NASCAR is at the track and walking the garage area.
“I don’t think all of it lays on NASCAR,” Harvick said. “Some of it lays on the team owners, to get the drivers more into the mix. It’s not like that on a lot of teams.”
“Our team is not aligned with a lot of the decisions and some of the things that have happened in the sport. … I think we’ve got to pull the owners into this conversation because a lot of them have pushed NASCAR into doing the things they’ve done from a financial situation.”
“We have to get the drivers and owners to be more on the same page with what’s going on from the owner’s and NASCAR standpoint and get that communication right. That’s a piece of the puzzle that’s missing.”
“I wouldn’t lay all the decisions that have been made in the sport are definitely not all on NASCAR’s shoulders. Thats one of the more frustrating things that happens. Everybody comes into how do we make the sport better, whether it’s competition or social media or whatever, and can’t set aside those agendas to do what’s right for the sport.”
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of politics in every decision that gets made and everything we do in today’s world. This is not my favorite thing to talk about, but obviously with everything that happened this week, this is definitely a topic we have to talk about.”