Just a week removed from the four-race probation issued to Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch after their pit-road antics following the Saturday night showdown at Darlington (May 7), the Cup Series heads home to Charlotte for the annual All-Star Race. And in an effort to promote the all-out, no holds barred racing that typically accompanies the non-points race, Marcus Smith, President of Charolotte Motor Speedway has released a digital ad highlighting the renewed rivalry between two of the sport’s biggest hot heads.
The ad claims “It Gets Settled” and features a clip of Busch pushing Harvick’s car on pit road. But I know as well as you do that there will be plenty of people screaming for more penalties if the two drivers get into it again on the track. But Smith just sees it as an opportunity to resolve the problems with little risk of further penalty from NASCAR to the point that he’s offered to pay any fines issued as a result of taking out their aggression Saturday night.
But is it really a good idea?
First of all, both drivers have made it very clear that little has been resolved between the two. They’ve never really gotten along, and Busch claims Harvick will “talk to your face like you’re best friends, but then behind closed doors he has the utmost disrespectful thoughts or whatever else.” Doesn’t that make it sound like fans will be treated to some fireworks between the two this weekend?
The All-Star Race has typically been a place where drivers run wide open with little regard to points implications since there are none, and this year should be no different. While I understand why both drivers were placed on probation, NASCAR was particularly clear to say “points-paying” race when they issued the four-race penalty. And I’m not so sure they didn’t do that intentionally knowing the All-Star Race would fall right in the middle of their probation periods.
Then you add in the clarification that the penalties were issued to both parties not for their actions on track but rather their actions on pit road, and you have a perfect recipe for some excitement in the All-Star Race.
Now I’m not advocating that Harvick seek out Busch in retaliation for the spin that cost him the finish at Darlington. In fact, I don’t agree at all with drivers using their cars as weapons. I’d rather see them settle outside the car where there’s less risk of injury to both drivers as well as the innocent competitors that will ultimately get caught up in their spat. But what I am saying is that I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the two race each other harder than they do the rest of their competition on the track.
We won’t know until Saturday night whether Busch and Harvick will setttle their differences during the All-Star Race, but I’m certain Marcus Smith hopes they will.
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