Race Weekend Central

What’s Vexing Vito? Quick Hits Leaving the 2011 Bristol Night Race

Kevin Harvick was a guest of he Bert Show on Atlanta’s Q100 radio station Tuesday (Aug. 30), hosted by Bert Weis. Harvick deemed Kyle Busch a – er – slang term for a feminine hygiene disposal device. Now that’s kind of the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it? Over Harvick’s 10-year career, he’s gone out of his way to get into it with virtually every driver in the field at some point, all the while making really bad jokes on camera and then smiling and laughing at them.

Yes, Kyle has had his moments, but for Harvick to carry a grudge over something that happened six years ago with a driver whose meteoric rise to success almost mirrors his own – you think they’d be best buds.

Will Clint Bowyer jump ship or stay put? Bowyer is the next big domino to fall in the silly season of NASCAR – which really hasn’t been that, funny. Carl Edwards‘s rumored move to Joe Gibbs Racing never materialized, so that kind of put the kibosh on things for the most part. David Ragan’s position is much safer than it was six months ago following his win at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July, but that has been a trip up for Bowyer. He was under consideration at Roush Fenway Racing when Edwards’s decision was up in the air, and he was also rumored to be under consideration at Red Bull Racing – before they went bull-y up.

Richard Petty Motorsports owner Andrew Murstein recently stated publicly that an offer had been made to Bowyer but nothing further has been announced. The big hold up with RCR appears to be sponsorship for the full season and Bowyer’s reluctance to take a salary cut. On the other hand, Ford is making a push to keep its drivers as of late, and would likely be very involved in assisting their only full-time team outside of RFR in recruiting someone of Bowyer’s talent, performance and pedigree.

With Atlanta coming up this weekend for all three touring series, those already locked into the Chase have another luxury that is not afforded to those who are not within the top 10: loafing it. The seeding process however affords the opportunity to go for broke and win a race to get in for those drivers who are qualified as the wildcards or locked in have another advantage that the new structure might help: if one of the next two events is rained out and cannot be run in time, or if they were to be injured and unable to start or compete at Richmond. The likelihood of such an even is low, but look how injuries have affected the championship chases in years past.

Two that readily come to mind are Davey Allison in 1992 and Rusty Wallace in 1993. Those guys probably would have done well to take a week off at some point in the season, or at least just get a relief driver and not worry about points in the middle of the season. Dale Earnhardt driving with a broken shoulder in 1996 might have liked a week out of the seat too; but then again, he would not have won the pole and set a track record at Watkins Glen, two weeks after getting busted up at Talladega.

About the author

Vito is one of the longest-tenured writers at Frontstretch, joining the staff in 2007. With his column Voice of Vito (monthly, Fridays) he’s a contributor to several other outlets, including Athlon Sports and Popular Speed in addition to making radio appearances. He forever has a soft-spot in his heart for old Mopars and presumably oil-soaked cardboard in his garage.

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