The major falling-out between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch has been the talking point of NASCAR
for the last few days, and it hasn't stopped with the awarding of penalties ($25,000 fine and four-week probation) to both men following the antics on track and in pit road.
And now they're taking their bitter personal battle to Camping World Truck, with Kevin Harvick a late entry into the Dover round of the series increasingly seen as Kyle's personal domain these days, as Harvick's own driving appearances focus on the Sprint Cup.
"Kevin and Kyle's rivalry is at least three years old but it's hard to trace it back to one specific race,” explained SPEED TV channel reporter Ray Dunlap. "It was one of those feuds that simmered under the surface for quite some time until it finally boiled over and erupted."
Harvick decided to run at Dover after the most recent Truck race at Nashville, but it was still before the outbreak of major hostilities at Darlington. It will be Harvick's first Truck series start at Dover. However, the motivation for Harvick seems clear: if anyone can stop Kyle Busch taking a clean sweep of all three championships here then it's Kevin Harvick himself.
"I think he made a conscious decision to be the guy who does whatever it takes to prevent Kyle from winning all the time," said Dunlap. "KHI [Kevin Harvick Incorporated] has a better shot at keeping Kyle out of victory lane with Kevin in the No. 2 truck than with any other driver in their stable."
Last year, Kyle took both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide victories, but failed in the Truck race after a fuel pump problem. He finally got his triple crown - the first by any NASCAR
driver - at Bristol in August 2010, but clearly has his eye on this weekend's events at Dover as his next chance to repeat the feat. He's got proven credentials racing on concrete ovals like Dover, and has accumulated 20 wins on them going back to 2008, including two Sprint Cup, three Nationwide and one Truck series win at Dover; a further 11 wins at Bristol; and three more at Nashville.
"I think Kevin will make a pretty strong effort to keep him out of Victory Lane; not necessarily wreck him, but make sure he doesn't get another win," said Dunlap. "It could be pretty ugly. It could be really ugly for one of them in particular."
The pair have a long history of rivalry in Trucks in previous seasons, explained the SPEED reporter. "Darlington is the culmination of at least eight or 10 incidents between them, about 70-percent of which came in the Truck Series." Harvick has previously entered a Truck race in 2008 just in order to get back at Kyle Busch, which involved blocking him on pit road and running into the back of Busch repeatedly in practice, which rattled a younger, less assured Busch.
But the statistics are heavily on Kyle's side: 26 wins from 89 Truck starts compared with Harvick's 9 wins in 108 starts, plus 11 pole positions for Kyle compared to just one for Kevin.