TORONTO - There will be 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers starting the FedEx 400 Sunday at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, but most eyes will be on only two — Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
The driver of the No, 29 Chevrolet and the No. 17 Toyota respectively, are coming off what could have been a deadly confrontation on pit road last week at Darlington when Harvick’s attempted punch at Busch through his car window resulted in Busch pushing the No. 29 car into the path of several onlookers.
That nobody was injured was lucky but NASCAR bosses saw the incident as serious enough to hit both drivers with a four-race probation and a $25,000 US fine.
If NASCAR officials thought that would put an end to the feud, they could not have been more wrong.
During separate media scrums at Dover in preparation for Sunday’s race both drivers admitted nothing has been settled.
Harvick even went as far as to use a hockey analogy to describe what he thought of Busch’s post-race actions at Darlington, signalling that he likely won’t be satisfied until the pair duke it out once and for all away from the racing surface.
“Everybody has reached the boiling point and basically the only answer I get out of Kyle is: ‘I’m a race car driver not a fighter’ but if you drive like that you’re gonna have to learn how to take care of yourself,” Harvick said.
He accused Busch of lying about having a flat tire as his excuse for wrecking Harvick at Darlington.
“Kyle’s explanation was he had a flat tire and hooked me on the straightaway,” Harvick said. “It’s kind of one lie after the other and you see everything that happened after the race and for me the way that I was brought up and taught to race, when you hook somebody in the right-rear quarter panel that’s the equivalent of throwing your gloves off in hockey.”
For his part Busch scoffed at Harvick’s blunt invitation to get into a hockey-type brawl to settle their differences.
“Apparently he’s watching too much hockey,” Busch said. “To me, I did have a left rear tire flat. I did have to come to pit road during that caution period to change left side tires because they were flat.”
And Busch said that while he is a willing participant in the on-track rough stuff, he has no interest in engaging Harvick in fisticuffs afterward.
“I think it’s in my sponsors best interest and in my team owner’s best interest that we are not fighters and that we’re respectful competitors and we’re out here to do our job on the race track,” he said.
It’s evident both Harvick and Busch dislike one another intensely and aren’t about to shake hands and start fresh with new attitudes.
“As far as us getting along, I’m not sure that we ever really did, or will,” Busch said.
And Harvick was equally as adamant that the pair would never reconcile their differences.
“That probably won’t ever happen.”
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