driver and team owner Kyle Petty, who is also the son of NASCAR
great Richard Petty, has voiced strong criticism of NASCAR
officials for their actions relating to the clash between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick at Darlington Raceway
Petty's criticism extends to both their handling of the incident on pit lane itself at the time, and the penalties subsequently levied against both drivers.
After an on-track collision between the two drivers in the final laps of the Showcase Southern 500, Harvick stalked Busch around the track on the cool down lap and then blocked his entry onto pit road, before climbing out of his car and stalking over to the #18 to aim a punch at Busch through the driver-side window. Busch responded by hitting the accelerator and pushing the #29 out of the way, an action deemed dangerous by NASCAR
as pit crew personnel were working in the area.
Petty pointed out that the FOX TV footage was showing this unfold in real time throughout: "FOX followed them and watched them do their circles," he said. "FOX watched them come down pit road. We had an in-car camera of Kevin Harvick trying to get the steering wheel off [then] finally Kevin gets out of the car and goes back to say something to Kyle.
"Here's my problem with that: Where are the NASCAR
officials to stop that from happening in the first place? Why wasn't there a call made from the tower to come down? Keep Kevin in his car, keep Kyle in his car?
"NASCAR didn't step in, they didn't stop it from escalating, they let it escalate and they let it escalate on national TV. Now they want to fine these two guys and penalize them and put them on probation.
"I think NASCAR
needs to take some of the blame for letting that happen," he concluded. "The officials did not step in, so you can't totally blame the [drivers], and if you are
going to blame them, you need to re-look at how you do stuff."
Considering the amount of publicity the clash has got for NASCAR
in the last few days - which will likely boost ratings for TV coverage of Friday night's Camping World Truck series event at Dover which will see Harvick and Busch back in battle
on track and possibly off it as well - Petty thinks that NASCAR's penalties are disingenuous.
“I think they should give Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch four weeks in the Bahamas and they
should pay them
Petty is a cohost of SPEED TV's coverage of NASCAR.