Busch: “I think I shocked him.”
Kevin Harvick dominated in 2020 but he won’t battle for a championship this weekend despite bold move at Martinsville Speedway
Last week, it came down to just a single point for Kevin Harvick at Martinsville Speedway.
On the final corner, Harvick was on the bumper of Kyle Busch. If he passed him, Harvick was set to race for a championship this weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
Desperate times, Harvick purposefully clipped Busch in the left rear. Busch did a full 360 and still crossed the finish line. Meanwhile, Harvick spun himself into the inside wall, short of the finish line.
Now, Harvick won’t be racing for a championship this weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Despite winning 9 of 35 races so far in 2020.
Despite doing a full 360 just short of the finish line, Kyle Busch never lost a position.
The move went under review by NASCAR earlier in the week. Series officials elected not to hand out any penalties for the move of desperation.
Kyle Busch on the move by Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch has no hard feelings. In fact, he expected the move and went on defense to avoid it.
“He ran me down for the last five laps of the race. I was shocked because I was pushing as hard as I could go,” Kyle Busch stated later in the week.
“I knew what was going to happen if he did get to me. Trying to run my line and keep it right around the bottom. But, I just got so tight at the end of the race that I slowed down and he caught me.”
“On the last lap, he was on my bumper a little bit off of turn two. If I go in on the bottom, he’s just going to root me out of the way. So, I went in high into turn three. I think I shocked him because I gave him the groove, gave him the bottom.”
“Then, I came off the corner and he was like, ‘Oh, he’s not giving it to me. He’s going to race me off the corner. Shoot, I gotta hit him.’ “
“It was kinda too late. He didn’t quite think it through fast enough as to how he was going to do it.”
“I knew that if he was going to wreck me and I stopped in the fence then Denny [would have] got by me. It’s a wash. He knew he couldn’t do it bad enough that it eliminated me and pushed me back behind Denny.”
“There was a lot of situations in that moment.”
Busch concluded, “When it was all said and down and it ended the way that it did, I was like, ‘Wait, what? It’s all good. See ya.’ ”
Kevin Harvick on the move and missing the championship
“We just weren’t good and everybody on our team just kept battling to make it better and gave ourselves a shot there at the end. I tried to drive into the door of the 18 to get that last point to make it and spun him out,” Harvick said after the race.
“I don’t usually drive like that, but you’re trying to make it to the championship four and doing everything you can.” He added, “I just came up short. Just not the night we needed.”
Now, Harvick missed the championship race for the first time since 2016, only the second time in the last eight years.
“I’ve been punched in the gut a lot harder,” Harvick said of missing the championship.
Harvick added, “We won nine races, had a great year, and, like I said, the championship is kind of a bonus. It would be great to win it, obviously, but I’d rather go through the year and win races and do the things that we did and just came up short.”