NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick recently explained why he believes there is a lack of “respect” in the garage area that leads to multiple NASCAR Overtime restarts as recently seen at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
While addressing the media ahead of the Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway this past weekend, Harvick was asked what he thought the fix is for the multiple wrecks at the end of the race at COTA.
He responded, “I don’t know. The problem is there’s zero consequences with the car. That’s the biggest problem. It turns into slam or be slammed.”
Harvick reiterated, “And there’s no consequences with tearing up the car because it is so durable.”
“I think every action has a reaction and so it’s difficult to say what the right answer is because I don’t want to sit here and say we need a single file restart or we need this or we need that because I think that one thing leads to another,” he continued. “It’s conversation that has to — I don’t like racing like that but you have to race like that and by the end of the race everybody’s in the slam or be slammed category. So, it’s a tough situation.”
FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass then asked, “Why is that? Is that because there is all these cameras around and you just can’t pop somebody in the face afterward?”
Harvick replied, “How many guys have you really seen get popped in the face? Like really how many guys have you — I’m asking you. … But how many guys have you seen really get popped in the face in the last 10 years?”
Pockrass replied, “I would say maybe two or three.” Harvick responded, “At the most, right?”
Harvick then elaborated, “Is that really realistic in today’s society to walk over and punch a guy in the mouth? Is that real?”
He then again explained what’s causing all the problems, “The reason why is because the car, you can run into a steel wall and it keep going or a concrete wall and it keep going. So as drivers you learn. Everybody learns what you can and can’t do.”
“And you just become more and more aggressive because the consequences are not — there are no consequences with the car, to tear the car up,” he concluded.
Harvick’s response contrasts with his fellow competitors such as Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Preece.
Hamlin suggested single file restarts during his Actions Detrimental podcast following the race at COTA where he agreed with Alex Bowman that the end of the race was “embarrassing.”
Hamlin said, “I personally think it’s a bad look. I think that — do we want our NASCAR fans — I’ve got a clock on my dash just to know [the] time of day for debriefing with my team and whatnot and when the track changed, but it shouldn’t take an hour to run the last two laps of the race, green flag laps of the race.”
He then suggested, “I’m going to go out on a limb here and say maybe we should explore single file restarts at the end.”
After seeing his day end early during one of the NASCAR Overtimes at COTA, Ryan Preece said his competitors needed an “ass-kicking.”
In an interview he said, “You want to know what this is? This comes down to a lack of respect. I get so frustrated because growing up a lot of these guys they just pay their way and they don’t respect cars. And what happens going into turn 1, they just run into everyone, and they ruin days.”
He concluded saying, “So someone needs an ass-kicking. That’s for sure.”
Kyle Busch previously indicated his fellow competitors needed a knuckle sandwich when sharing his thoughts on Denny Hamlin being penalized for intentionally fencing Ross Chastain in the closing laps of the race at Phoenix Raceway earlier this year.
When asked what should be done, Busch said, “Drivers to be more ethical and take responsibility for their actions and just race and race hard, and if you make a mistake like, ‘Okay, fine I get it,’ but when you intentionally drive over somebody because they made a move on you or something that you didn’t like then you’re gonna get punched in the face afterwards.”
Busch said, “We have completely lost any sense of respect in the garage area between drivers. That’s where the problem lies. Nobody gives two shits about anybody else. And it’s just a problem where everybody takes advantage of everybody as much as they can. We’re all selfish granted, but there was an etiquette that once did live here. Mark [Martin] started it. Tony [Stewart] really lived by it. I think Jeff [Gordon] lived by it. Bobby Labonte. Rusty [Wallace] for the most. Dale Jarrett for sure. It did exist. That’s gone.”
Later in the interview when asked for a solution to the problem he suggested, “If you spin somebody out — and I’m guilty of it I’ve spun somebody out for the lead before or the win before or something like that on accident, racing — but if it happens then you get sent to the back; caution comes out you go to the back. There’s no repercussions for that right now. So that’s the old short track adage and how these kids learn when they’re growing up. Maybe we need to implement that here.”
He would also go on to double down on the idea of throwing a punch if someone’s rivalry or revenge racing affects other drivers, “When it comes to the time in which it starts affecting other peoples’ races and such then again I think it leaves the door open for you to go punch somebody in the face.”
What do you make of Harvick’s comments? Do you think the solution comes with a change to the durability of the car?