OPINION: Kevin Harvick needs to take a look in the mirror

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

Kevin Harvick can talk trash about Ross Chastain all he wants but at the end of the day he was the one upstaged by a Florida watermelon farmer trying to make a name for himself in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Chastain is racing to make the Xfinity Series playoffs while Harvick dropped down into the lower tier series trying to cherry-pick a win. Chastain had something to prove and he didn’t care if he made Harvick look foolish by holding him off on restarts and repeatedly outdriving him as they went through the corners at Darlington Raceway. I mean, Harvick is Cup Series champion, how dare Chastain not bow down and give him the top spot? Chastain showed he had plenty of fight and speed but most importantly he was putting on a clinic with moves that didn’t indicate he was “inexperienced” as Harvick claimed. Harvick was just upset that Chastain wasn’t going to roll over for him.

Upon review Harvick went into Turn 2, got loose, wiggled, made contact with the 42 car and put Chastain into the wall. It’s clear in every video angle available. Harvick does have a right to be angry but he should direct the blame at himself for getting loose under Chastain and starting a chain reaction that ruined bother their days. Still, at the end of the day, it was a racing incident with two drivers battling hard for the lead and, most likely, the impending win.

As for Chastain retaliating after Harvick lost control of his car, it appears Chastain gathered things up a split second before he ran into Harvick, causing him to spin and get into the wall. Obviously angry, Harvick drove to Chastain’s pit and parked his car there, taunting the crew. It was another bully move by a scorned Harvick and something he’s done several times in the past when he was upset with a driver. Did Harvick get dumped after wrecking Chastain? Probably. Does it matter? Not really.

The way I see it, if Cup Series drivers want to continue clubbing Xfinity Series drivers over the head like baby seals and take away their prize money, they have no right to get upset when one of them fights back or makes it a little tough. Sure, most of the time, the Xfinity guys are going to give way because they don’t want to mess up a shot at impressing a Cup Series driver who might advocate on their part to move up to the next level. However, in this case, Chastain gets more respect for standing his ground and not letting Harvick bully him. No one likes a bully and that is exactly how Harvick acts on many occasions – on and off the track.

Following his mandatory visit to the infield care center he spoke with a television reporter, opining about how Chastain was inexperienced and “made a really bad move” but when he was done making himself look big in the eyes of his fans on TV, he turned and sped off in a golf cart. It was the same scenario as when he is upset at other tracks or following nearly any race where he isn’t celebrating in victory lane. He flashes a big smile for the television cameras and then runs off rather than field questions from the rest of the media gathered to seek his comments for their own news content. On Saturday, MRN’s Kim Coon was almost hit by the fleeing golf cart as she held her microphone out and fired off a quick question in Harvick’s direction. Luckily, the golf cart driver stopped briefly before whisking Harvick away.

If Harvick is trying follow in the footsteps of his team owner, Tony Stewart, he is failing miserably because even though Stewart’s comments, at times, made a person cringe, at least, he had the decency to stand-up and answer questions. Stewart has my respect because he wasn’t shy about sharing his feelings, calling people out or explaining his viewpoint on what may, or may not, have happened on the track. 

In front of the cameras, Harvick said, “I tried to stay as low as I could and he just rode on my door. That’s just a really inexperienced racer and a really bad move there and got the air and got on beside me and just kept going up the race track. I couldn’t do anything with the wheel. So, you’ve got a really inexperienced guy in a really fast car and made a really bad move, and then wrecked me down the back straightaway and hooked me to the right. That’s probably the reason that he’ll never get to drive many of them again.”

Apparently, Chip Ganassi didn’t think Chastain hurt his chances by racing Harvick hard – or even dumping him, if that is what happened – and he relayed his feelings to the entire world Saturday evening via Twitter.

“Well everyone, I say @RossChastain simply helped himself to many future opportunities!,” Ganassi wrote in response to an article by ESPN’s Bob Pockrass on Harvick’s reaction.

I am sure Harvick is a hero to thousands of people but if they really saw what many of us see when the TV cameras are turned off they might reconsider who they choose to admire. Don’t get me wrong, Harvick does a lot of good for the sport, helps in the grass roots racing community and can be a really nice guy when things are going great. Unfortunately, there are going to be bad days in racing and when that happens it’s not hard to predict how Harvick will react. 


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