Two drivers who are no strangers to the “feud of the week” wound up capping their season by igniting their own tit for tat in the season finale at Homestead.
Harvick wrecked Busch with 25 laps left in the race, ending Busch’s season in a fiery, smoky crash. Harvick, who was battling Busch teammate Denny Hamlin for the championship, intentionally punted Busch after Busch slid up in front of him late in the race.
“He raced me like a clown all day – three wide, on the back bumper, running into me, and I just had enough,” Harvick said. “[He] cut me off and ran up in front of me. The last time I just didn’t lift.”
When asked if he thought his moves were risky or would raise Harvick’s ire, Busch responded: “What do we do every week?
“What was I doing?” Busch said.
In other words, just racing, Busch said.
“I don’t know where his brain is at but it’s obvious not all [the] wires are connected,” Busch said.
Busch denied that he raced Harvick hard to help Hamlin in his quest to win the title. Jimmie Johnson ended up winning the championship by 39 points over Hamlin and 41 over Harvick.
Harvick’s boss, team owner Richard Childress, said it was just hard racing by two drivers doing all they could for their organizations.
“We knew going in that those Toyotas were going to race us as hard as they could and we were going to race them, and it was just one of those deals,” Childress said.
JGR President J.D. Gibbs disagreed.
“That was a big deal,” Gibbs said. “He wrecked him. It could have played into [the championship in] the end. I don’t think it did the way it went down, but it could have.”
When Harvick criticized Busch during a postrace press conference Sunday, Hamlin, who was seated beside him, responded: “Sounds like your teammates raced me all day.”
“I just parked yours,” Harvick countered.
What makes this feud a little odd is that Harvick and Busch typically get along. They are both team owners in the Truck Series and Busch credits Harvick with giving him good advice when starting his Kyle Busch Motorsports team a year ago.
Despite their numerous battles on the track in both the Nationwide Series and trucks, Harvick and Busch rarely have had a problem with each other.
That’s what left Busch frustrated.
“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.”
Expect Harvick to get a friendly reminder of that sometime next season.
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