Kevin Harvick vs. Kyle Busch is more than a feud of the week. It could be the feud of the year.
Harvick and Busch, who have clashed before, are drivers who don’t easily forget. And they expect to not only battle for wins and the championship in the Sprint Cup Series but also will be racing each other for victories in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series events as well.
So expect the anger and discontent between the two at Darlington Raceway to continue. It was no surprise that they went at each other after an on-track collision at Darlington – they had problems with each other last year as well.
At Darlington, Harvick was unhappy with the way Busch was racing him and let him know it by bumping him in Turn 3 with less than five laps to go in the race. They then raced three-wide with Busch on the outside, Harvick in the middle and Harvick teammate Clint Bowyer on the inside.
Busch either got loose or appeared to crowd Harvick into Bowyer, who crashed hard into the inside wall. Busch then hooked Harvick’s car, sending him spinning into the outside wall.
Busch said that “we couldn’t really get away from each other and he ended up spinning.” Harvick claimed that Busch hit him intentionally, and his crew chief declared that Busch better be ready for the same treatment in a future race.
Harvick, however, wanted to settle things immediately at Darlington.
After the race, he stopped his car in front of Busch’s car on pit road. Harvick then got out of his car and went over to Busch’s window to punch him. But Busch hit the accelerator on his car and sped away, hitting Harvick’s unmanned car in the process and sending it slamming into the pit wall.
Busch claims he didn’t have reverse in his car at the time and said his only choices were to get punched or drive forward, and unfortunately Harvick’s car spun and could have hit someone on pit road.
“I was either going to get punched in the face and then wait for Harvick to get back in his car for me to go or just drive through his car and push it out of the way so I could get out of there and try not to get hit or anything like that,” Busch said. “I made a judgment call there and it wasn't one of the best choices that I had, but I pushed his car out of the way on pit road and, unfortunately, there was men walking down pit road.
“I hate it that somebody could have gotten hurt, but I was just trying to get away from it and get back to my hauler and go on with my own business."
While it seems strange that Busch could have lost reverse moments after he had backed up on the track to get to pit road, it was not surprising to many in the garage.
“Those reverse gears and transmissions are really delicate,” ESPN analyst and former crew chief Andy Petree said. “They’re not made to apply a lot of power and torque to them. They’re really just in there to back out of the garage or back up on pit road.
“If you rev those things or put any amount of torque on them, they’ll break easily. It looked to me when he and Kevin did not go back down pit road and he started to back up, I bet he broke it right there.”
The crews for both teams exchanged words as their haulers were parked near each other, but no punches were thrown.
The two drivers met in the NASCAR hauler but neither seemed satisfied that the feud is over. They both could be penalized for their actions.
The two have a history with each other with Harvick wrecking Busch in the season finale at Homestead last year. At the time, Harvick said: “He raced me like a clown all day – three wide, on the back bumper, running into me, and I just had enough. [He] cut me off and ran up in front of me. The last time I just didn’t lift.”
Busch called Harvick “two-faced” after the incident.
“He’s two-faced,” Busch said. “He’ll talk to you all day long straight to your face and be the nicest guy to you, but when you get out there on the race track, he ain’t your friend.”
Busch ripped Harvick again Saturday night.
“[It was] just uncalled for and just unacceptable racing,” Busch said.
“He just ran into me twice,” Harvick said as he walked briskly toward Busch’s hauler. “I was getting ready to knock the piss out of him.”
Harvick wasn’t successful at Darlington. But he isn’t one to forget and not get even. And neither is Busch.