Did Kevin Harvick really intend to start a wreck at Talladega? Larry McReynolds weighs in.
I really enjoyed Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. How about those drivers going through half the race before we even got to our first caution? There weren’t cautions because these drivers were running single file, either. Now sure, they did occasionally, but the majority of the racing was two- and three-wide multiple rows deep.
But let’s get to it, because everyone keeps asking me if I think the end of the race was a good deal? We have to be honest. No, it wasn’t a good ending to a race. Let’s start off with addressing the green-white-checkered rule. I do get why NASCAR made the decision that they made, to a certain degree, but I’ve still not bought into it 100 percent.
As long as all the drivers and teams knew going into it that it was the deal, then you live with it. I just think it’s challenging when you play with rules non-stop or you move rules around because of an incident. We know why this rule changed, and I’m talking about what happened at Daytona in July when Austin Dillon’s car went airborne into the catchfence.
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I just have a hard time with rules that are specific to one race. For instance, we’re headed to Martinsville this weekend, and I think I’m right in saying this, but we’re back to three green-white-checkered attempts again. I just think you ask for trouble when you do that but, hey, NASCAR handled everything right based on the rule that was made.
It was not an "attempt" when they didn’t cross the start/finish line on the first restart, but they did make it there the second time, so it did count as an attempt at the green-white-checkered finish. So NASCAR did handle everything right there by the rules. Am I still a big fan of the rule NASCAR made? The answer is no I am not, but that is neither here nor there.
So now let’s address what everyone is talking about, and that’s the Kevin Harvick situation. Kevin was in a box. His motor was going sour, but he just couldn’t simply move over and fall to the back, because he would have been eliminated from the Chase. Now, do I see a bit of a smoking gun in his hand after that deal? The answer is absolutely, "yes," in my book.
But I’m just telling you that when you begin accusing a driver of purposely wrecking somebody and you don’t have rock-solid proof, well then it becomes a slippery slope. That’s a pretty strong accusation, and there is only one person who actually knows. His name is Kevin Harvick, and he is the only person who knows.
The irony of this whole deal is the guy who should have been the most upset, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Aside from Joey Logano in Victory Lane, Earnhardt had the best post-race interview. Dale Jr. was professional and upbeat. He had every reason in the world to be upset and mad, but he took the high road. He said he and his team couldn’t point their finger at what happened at Talladega, but they had to point their finger at themselves and what happened the previous two races. Charlotte and Kansas put them in the hole they were in. I just thought that was a class act on Dale. Jr.’s part.
So now Joey Logano has won three races in a row. We have eight drivers who are moving on to the next round, and four drivers who saw their championship hopes evaporate Sunday. The irony is that Denny Hamlin, who is now out of the Chase, is very mad at Kevin Harvick because he thinks Kevin did something wrong, but Hamlin’s teammate, Kyle Busch, has to be pretty darn happy. If Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins that race, there was a very good chance that Kyle Busch gets eliminated from the Chase.
I think Sunday was a perfect example of the intensity of this round we just completed. Two years in a row, the top points guy heading into the Talladega race has been knocked out of the Chase. Also, how ironic is it that both drivers — Kyle Busch last year and now Denny Hamlin this year — drive for the same organization, Joe Gibbs Racing?