Wednesday, May 11, 2011

NASCAR keeps door open for future dustups with Harvick, Busch penalties

Boys can have at it, but keep it on the race track.

That’s what NASCAR implied when it penalized Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch $25,000 and placed each on probation for the next four Sprint Cup Series points-paying events Tuesday following their altercation on pit road after Saturday’s race at Darlington.

NASCAR said the penalties were for what took place on pit road, and not the bumping and wrecking on the race track near the end of the race.

Overall, NASCAR handled this situation appropriately and stayed consistent with how it has dealt with similar situations this season. Even the alleged Juan Pablo Montoya-Ryan Newman incident that occurred inside the NASCAR hauler Friday didn’t receive any penalties.

This situation did a lot to clarify where NASCAR truly stands in the boys, have at it era this season, even if it is still inconsistent with the way it handled similar situations a year ago.

Carl Edwards was placed on probation for the rest of the season after he intentionally wrecked and flipped Brad Keselowski in the spring race at Atlanta. But, both drivers who have intentionally wrecked somebody this season have not been penalized at all.

Does this mean NASCAR has different rules each year, or was the sanctioning body still trying to figure out where it stood on driver altercations early last season? Unfortunately, the only driver to be penalized for wrecking somebody in the past two years was Edwards. Even Harvick was let off the hook at Homestead in the final race of last season when he put Busch into the fence.

In any case, the drivers should feel as though they have more of a precedent on which to go by when a situation comes up in the future. Apparently they can do whatever they want on the track and even fights in the pits might go unpunished, but creating a situation where cars are moving down pit road without a driver is not OK.

Still, fans who enjoy the extra-curricular action that sometimes develops between drivers and teams should be excited about this ruling because it hardly put any restrictions on future incidents.

Another thing to keep in mind is the probations only apply to points races, and the All-Star Race is not a points event. That means anything still goes for that night. After the past two weekends, it will likely end up being one of the most-anticipated events of the season. And who knows, another feud could develop in that race as it did last season when Denny Hamlin blocked Busch coming out of Turn 2 and as Darrell Waltrip said, “He put him in the wall!”

Anyway, there is still a race at Dover before All-Star weekend, and the sport carries as much intrigue with it week-to-week as it has all season. The exciting part is it could continue to just get better.


  1. and, we should not forget, both Kevin and Kyle are in the truck race at Dover this points other than for the owner's title ;)

  2. I thought Edwards had a brief probation after Atlanta. Then it was extended after he hooked BK in a NW race at St Louis. No?

    Tez, their probation includes ANY NASCAR sanctioned event... all 3 series, and the All-Star race.

  3. but everywhere I've read says the next 4 points-paying Cup races only....nothing about the All-star race or any of the lower categories.

  4. Here's a link to Fox Sports where they claim the probation is for all NASCAR sanctioned events...

    So this was for off track conduct... Rumor has it that Newman took a swing at JPM in the NASCAR meeting to mend fences... No penalty? No probation?

    What exactly did Kyle do off track? He was stopped by Kevin and then the 29 pit crew came running. Kyle shoved his way to get out of there. Eight to one is not good odds and I don't blame him...

    BTW, did you notice Harvick left his helmet on? One bad dude...

  5. Yea a lot of misinformation out there - probation covers the length of 4 points races and everything in between - points races and non points races in all nascar sanctioned races.

    Kyle punted an unmanned race car on pit road ...not smart. Yea he didnt have reverse but he could have gone around the 29 or just put his dang window net up! LOL

    Best chance for boys have at it...mark my words - Sonoma.

  6. Kristen, he didn't have reverse?? I'm calling BULL ****, HORSE ****, AND any other kind of **** on that!!! His reverse was working PERFECTLY FINE in the moments right after the race, when he and Harvick were stalking each other like two lions about to fight over territory. Yes, there were crew members there, but only one of them was running down pit road TO WATCH HARVICK'S BACK, (and maybe to separate him and Kyle) NOT TO jump in as third man in. All this stuff about Kyle being outnumbered by 8-1 is horseradish. I only saw the one crew man for the 29 team running down pit road. (An unwritten code amongst crew members is NEVER to go after another driver. It will lead to instant termination from that crew.) The crew is there to have the driver's back. But if one of the crew is attacked by the other crew, fight's on. And the reason he punted the 29 is that he was about to get his @$$ kicked right there on pit road by Kevin, so he left. Harvick did one thing wrong: he didn't leave the car in reverse.

  7. LOL Jon - Kyle didnt have reverse. He blew out the reverse gear (or whatever the heck it is) when he backed away from Kevin on the track which is why he pulled forward and around him to get onto pit road. Nascar inspection confirmed it Sat PM.

    There were pit members from the teams pitted at the end of pit road cleaning up their pit boxes and plenty of photographers around too...

    I still say all he had to do was put the window net up - Kev couldnt punch thru that! LOL