To say Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick was frustrated Sunday night is putting it mildly. Harvick’s issues started early on in the Bristol Dirt race when NASCAR called a caution on lap 15 as multiple cars saw their front grills get covered with mud.
During the caution, which according to the rules for the Bristol Dirt race are non-competitive, Harvick pitted. However, NASCAR officials said he had pitted before the pits were open and sent him a lap down.
Under the yellow, Harvick and his crew tried to argue with officials, but to no avail.
On lap 98, Harvick’s race went from bad to worse when he was swept up in a four-car wreck started when Austin Cindric got loose sending Corey LaJoie spinning and sending Noah Gragson airborne. Harvick came up on the melee and was unable to avoid the cars, damaging the front suspension on his Ford and ending his night in the garage in 34th.
“The first thing I can tell you,” Harvick said. “Is we did a terrible job prepping the track and full of mud and there was nobody here to pack the track, so we all look like a bunch of bozos coming in to pit because we don’t know how to prep the track. And then we don’t get the lucky dog for whatever reason with two cars on pit road, and then we got run over. I don’t know who ran us over at the end.”
Harvick, who has little experience racing on dirt, said his car was fine before the crash.
“I had a great car. The racetrack was fine,” he said. “They just did a terrible job to start with. They’ve done this before, but, obviously, it doesn’t look like it.”
Harvick’s frustration was no doubt compounded by his on-track performance of late. Though he finished second at Richmond, his best finish through the other seven races was sixth. He’s also in the midst of his longest winless streak dating back 52 races to the fall Bristol race in 2020.
That win came on the “regular” paved Bristol, something Harvick would rather see than the dirt surface of the last two spring races. He said he didn’t think trying to talk to NASCAR would do any good.
“What’s the point, really?” he said. “I think Bristol is a great racetrack, but it must not have been what everybody liked.”
Should NASCAR want to do another dirt race at Bristol next season, don’t look for any cheerleading for that from Harvick.
“I think it’s ridiculous that we’re doing what we’re doing anyway,” he said.
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