NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller responded to Kevin Harvick calling out the organization for equipping team’s with “s****y parts” after his car erupted in flames during the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway this past weekend.
Harvick’s car caught fire around lap 45 of Stage 3. In fact, when USA’s camera took note of Harvick’s issues the entire cockpit of the vehicle was already with smoke as he attempted to bring the car down onto the apron of the track.
An in-car radio transmission heard Harvick say, “My rocker panel is on fire.” The fire continued to grow. Fortunately, he made the smart move and brought the car to a stop and quickly escaped the vehicle right before the flames appeared to engulf the majority of the cockpit.
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During the race, Harvick explained how the fire started and expressed his frustration with NASCAR.
“I’m sure it’s just the crappy parts on the race car like we’ve seen so many times,” Harvick said. “We haven’t fixed anything. It’s kind of like the safety stuff, we just let it keep going and keep going. And the car started burning and as it burns, you know, the flames started coming through the dash and I ran a couple of laps and then as the flame got bigger it started burning stuff up.”
Specifically referring to the moment when he brought the car to a stop he says, “And I think right there you see all the brake fluid that was coming out of the brakes. It burned a brake line. But the fire was coming through the dash.”
Harvick then exclaimed, “What a disaster, man! No reason. We didn’t touch the wall, we didn’t touch a car, and here we are in the pits with a burned up car and can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of crappy a** parts.”
“I just stopped. The rocker was on fire for a couple laps. I just stopped because I couldn’t see anymore because the flames were coming through the dash and I couldn’t make myself sit in there and burn up,” he explained.
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He also told reporter Noah Lewis and other media outlets, “The rocker panel just caught on fire. We just keep letting cars burn up, letting people crash into stuff, get hurt. We don’t fix anything. Now, we just riding around out there and the car catches on fire. So just s***ty parts.”
When asked how this affects his race in the playoffs Harvick responded, “Well, they don’t care. It’s cheaper to not fix it.” He was then asked how do you change it and he replied, “Find somebody new to run the show that can run it.”
On Monday, Harvick took to Twitter where he also called into question NASCAR’s decision on when to throw the caution flag while he was car was bursting into flames.
Harvick shared an image of him exiting the vehicle from FOX: NASCAR and asked, “Is the caution out yet?”
Scott Miller addressed Harvick’s vehicle going up in flames and his comments during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
He said, “We are certainly digging in to the cause. We have cars down there this morning looking for any signs of anything that may have triggered that. We have done so all year. I mean there is a lot of rubber at Darlington, the cheese grater that we always talked about.”
“We are not certain if rubber getting into the rocker box was the problem or not. We are debriefing it all,” he said. “It is unacceptable for the cars to catch on fire. We’ve been working on different solutions for different things along the way that seem to maybe are the trigger.”
“Obviously, we still have work to do. We are looking at clearances on particularly the Ford exhaust because they seem to have a little bit more trouble with this than the others. So there’s a lot of work going on, a lot of collaboration within the industry to get to the bottom of it. And we have to get to the bottom of it quick, obviously,” he concluded.
💭 “It’s unacceptable for the cars to catch on fire […] we have to get to the bottom of it quick, obviously.”
🔥 #NASCAR‘s SVP of Competition Scott Miller joined #TMDNASCAR to share what the sanctioning body is doing to combat the problem.@TheMikeBagley | @PPistone pic.twitter.com/lPRoTYIt8T
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) September 6, 2022
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Following Miller’s comments, Harvick retweeted Brian Murphy of Stewart-Haas Racing who shared an updated NASCAR rule regarding a back stop panel and the material used on it being changed from a polymer panel to a stainless steel panel.
Murphy noted, “Weigh Out Wednesday is about to get interesting!”
FOX Sports NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass explained the decision to replace the polymer section with a stainless section is “to keep debris from getting to the driver.” He also specifically noted it was “in response to fires.”
Harvick finished in 33rd at Darlington. He’s currently dead last among all playoff drivers. He’s 49 points behind leader Joey Logano and 13 points behind 12th place Daniel Suárez. The playoff field will be whittled to 12 cars following races at Kansas and Bristol. Harvick will be eliminated if he does not improve his position.
What do you make of NASCAR’s response to the fire engulfing Harvick’s car and their rule change to address the issue?
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