My 100th article- hope you guys enjoy it!
Welcome to 2006, ladies and gentleman. And not to spoiler your year, but this is the year that a young Jimmie Johnson will begin his three peat.
More than that, however, it was the year that saw a war of words between none other than Kevin "Happy" Harvick and Kurt "Yeah, I'm Kyle's brother" Busch.
If you don't remember this gem of a feud, let's take a journey back in time...
"I'd like to whip his ass," Kevin Harvick said of Kurt Busch. "Before the year is over, he'll make a fool out of Roger Penske."
A feud that dated back to when Harvick beat the then Roush driver for the 2001 Rookie of the Year honors. For a while, the two hard heads never crossed paths—Busch was feuding with Jimmy Spencer, while his Chevy counterpart feuding with...well...everyone else.
So it was no surprise when the two had a meeting of the egos in 2006, when Harvick's No. 29 Goodwrench Chevrolet made contact with the No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While Happy told his spotter he was forced into Busch, the other driver involved wasn't buying it, and cussed Harvick out over the radio.
"I think I would have whooped Kurt Busch before now," Harvick said. "Obviously, he forgot about getting punched in his nose last time from Jimmy Spencer."
"I probably shouldn't have said that," Harvick quickly followed.
It wasn't the first time the two had had a run in with each other since their rookie year, but the feud had escalated by Happy calling Busch names like "rubberhead" and "dumbo", among profanities my mother probably wouldn't want me to mention.
"It's hard not to pick on a guy when his ears are pinned back," Harvick said, speaking on Busch's alleged plastic surgery. "I should stop. My wife is looking at me like, 'You should really stop.' "
Busch refused to comment.
Harvick also took a shot at Busch and younger brother Kyle during the All-Star event the following year, where the siblings were caught up in a wreck together.
"That didn't surprise you that the Busch brothers caused the first wreck, did it?"
Things between Harvick and the older Busch have since settled down. Or, at least, Harvick has publicly made fun of him.
Things between Harvick and the younger Busch, however...well, different story.
Fastword to 2008, Michigan International Speedway to be exact, where Harvick now owns Kevin Harvick Inc. His truck, driven by mentor Ron Hornaday, Jr. is running well before contact with Kyle Busch sends the truck spinning.
The race was the Cool City Customs 200—but Hornaday and Harvick were anything but cool.
"That kid has just about done wore me out," the former Truck Series champion said after the race. "I don't know if I have to give up this championship to teach him a lesson, I hope I don't hurt him.
"If Joe Gibbs lets him do this, I am ashamed for them," Hornaday continued. "I tried to talk to him as a friend. He is just out there, I don't know what it is. I guess it is an ego trip and if he is going to wreck me every week, I guess we are going to have to do it back to him."
Talk to him he—and his team owner—did. Hornaday, after his interview with SPEED TV, rushed back to the garage area to talk to Busch.
Things nearly came to blows as Harvick, Busch and Hornaday were all seen yelling at each other, and Hornaday and "Rowdy" were held back by track security.
"I just got into him, sorry about that," Busch said later. "But remarks from Harvick and Hornaday are what they're going to be, they're big mouths anyway and so we'll take it and get on with it and hopefully beat them out for this championship."
With Shrub acting much like his older brother before him, I have a feeling we haven't heard the last of this feud...
Thanks to SportingNews.com, Courant.com, USA Today, ESPN and AL.com for the quotes and information used in this piece.