Remarks Lead To On-Track Scrum
DOVER, Del. — Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick didn’t wait long to express his displeasure to Denny Hamlin after the Joe Gibbs Racing driver made critical comments about Harvick’s RCR teammate Clint Bowyer’s No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet team.
As the two drivers were heading onto the one-mile concrete Dover Int’l Speedway to begin Saturday’s first 45-minute practice session, Harvick clipped the back of the Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota. He then pulled alongside Hamlin and cut him off.
The incident sent both cars back to the garage area with damage.
Parked next to each other in the garage, the two drivers and several crew members from each team exchanged heated words after the on-track incident.
“There really was just a lot of cursing,” Hamlin said. “That’s all that was being said. There was really nothing logical being said between the two teams.”
The contact caused damage to the right rear of Hamlin’s car and the front of Harvick’s No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet — causing both teams to miss valuable practice time.
Hamlin’s comments Friday regarding the penalties levied against Bowyer’s team for racing an illegal car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway sparked Harvick’s ire.
“In the garage, everyone has known it for months,” Hamlin said. “It’s not two weeks old. This is something that’s been going on for months. They’ve been warned for a long time, way before Richmond. This is not something that, ‘Oh man, they just told us halfway after Richmond and going into Loudon that our car’s wrong.’ They knew it was wrong way before that and I felt like they just, they wanted to get everything they could.”
Hamlin knew before he got on track Saturday that Harvick planned to respond to his words.
“I had a hint,” Hamlin said. “Their crew guys, they stare and make a couple comments right before the day, ‘Good luck today.’ He (Har-vick) got into me on pit road even before we left the track, so I knew. We were going to have to deal with some issues.”
Hamlin finished ninth Sunday in the AAA 400. He continues to lead the Chase with a 35-point lead over Dover winner Jimmie Johnson.