Make no mistake—there were heated words on the radios of Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick after their collision on the backstretch on Lap 38 of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 that ended Harvick’s bid to win a fourth straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
Harvick wondered aloud what Larson was doing when the driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet turned up the track after Harvick moved down to side-draft the Chip Ganassi Racing machine.
Larson questioned why Harvick would race him so hard for position so early in a 200-lap event.
But after Larson recovered to run second to race winner Martin Truex Jr., and Harvick rolled home 35th in a heavily damaged car, the drivers were far more conciliatory.
“I went down to side-draft, and he (Larson) was coming up and we touched, and it just knocked the thing to the right and spun out,” Harvick said after watching the video replay. “I don’t know that it’s his fault. I think that’s my fault for coming down the race track right there and trying to side-draft, and then as we touch it just came back up the race track.
“I was just trying to get a little too much right there. I knew the stage was coming (to an end). I’ve just got to thank all of my guys. They did a great job on our Busch Beer Ford, and it was just my fault back there.
“That was just a dumb mistake on my part… The race car was there. It was just a mistake.”
Larson likewise took a more amicable tone after his runner-up result.
“We were racing really hard, and I was better than him in (Turns) 3 and 4, and he was better than me in (Turns) 1 and 2,” Larson said.
“I would side-draft him down the frontstretch, and he would side draft me down the backstretch, and I don’t know if he was just coming down to side draft me or what, but we made contact and it spun his car to the right. So you never want to make contact with anybody, but all in all it was a good day for our DC Solar Chevrolet team.”