Short track racing seems to bring out the worst in drivers. Some throw helmets at a rival's car. One has punched an ambulance.
But Kevin Harvick didn't do any of that during his feud with veteran Ricky Rudd.
Harvick was third in points during the night race at Richmond when Rudd tagged him, sending the #29 into the wall. He would go on to finish 16th.
Furious at Rudd, Happy pulled his car alongside the #21 after the race. Things only escalated from there when both pit crews, and a slue of NASCAR officials, of course, got involved. Harvick walked on Rudd's car, yelling obscenities and even throwing his HANS device...which Rudd kindly gave back.
"Yeah, I tell you what, the GM Goodwrench car was good tonight. Ricky Rudd took a *expletive* cheap shot at us. If he's gonna take a cheap shot, ya know, he's gonna get one back, I promise you that." Harvick told Matt Yocum while walking to the 'Big Red Trailer'.
Rudd, whose team also was sent to the NASCAR hauler, acknowledged that he hit Harvick, but insisted the contact wasn't intentional.
Harvick was fined $35,000 for the "use of improper language" and for the contact made with Rudd on pit road. His crew chief, Todd Berrier, was fined $10,000, jackman Mike Scearce was suspended one race and fined $5,000 and tire specialist Gene Pasquale, who was also suspended, paid a fine of $2,500.
Ken Barber and Kirk Almquist, both members of the #29 crew, were also fined. For his own bad language, Rudd's crew chief Pat Tryson was fined $5,000. All but the crew chiefs were placed on probation for the remainder of the year.
"We'll do whatever we need to do to maintain control," NASCAR President of Communications Jim Hunter, said. "In this day and age, this is not what we want our young people to see or hear."
A week later, Harvick wasn't ready to let the incident go.
"I still feel it was a pretty cheap shot," Harvick said. "The incident started on the racetrack. I haven't heard from Ricky Rudd, and I know the veteran approach to it is to always call on Monday morning. If it wasn't on purpose, I didn't hear the phone ring."
"I think it was about as intentional as you can get when you wreck going down the straightaway and don't even make it to the corner...I'm not going to back off on that part of it."
Rudd said he wouldn't hesitate to apologize to Harvick if it wasn't for his behavior following the race.
Owner Richard Childress, who Rudd tried to contact but "he was out hunting", offered to pay for the damage done to his car.
''He's a fiery guy and there's nothing wrong with that,'' Hunter said of Harvick. ''But he's got to control his emotions, so he's not inciting his team. We like having our guys show their emotions in a professional way.''
Hate to break it to you, Jim, but that won't happen. At least...it hasn't yet. So, be sure to stay tuned when we continue to follow the many feuds of Kevin Harvick!
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