13 May 2011
Drivers bristle over NASCAR's 'boys, have at it' policy
Clint Bowyer was against any attempts to nail down the meaning of 'Boys, have at it'. "No, we're all professionals," he said. "I think good old common sense solves a lot of that. Retaliation and things like that, like I said, it's been in racing ever since I started back in Kansas in a Street Stock car; that's the nature of the beast when you're racing as close as we are, as hard as we are and you're as passionate about what you do. When you put other people in danger is when things get out of hand ... Obviously that could have been a bad thing on pit road."
But Harvick was in broad agreement with Stewart and Newman. "If you're going to hook somebody in the middle of the straightaway, if you're going to spin them out, if you're going to retaliate, what is the penalty? Tell me what the penalty is. And they didn't tell me a consistent answer."
Of course, the state of relations being what they are between Harvick and Busch, Kyle just had to have a different view of it. "I understand it perfectly, actually," Busch said. "To me, it's not a grey area. It's pretty simple. It's black and white.
"The 'Boys, have at it' happens on the race track. They allow us to police ourselves pretty simply out there. But when matters get taken into the drivers' hands on pit road and innocent bystanders can be injured, NASCAR's going to step in and set penalties."
Harvick disputed Busch's clear-cut view, pointing out that a meeting on Thursday between the two drivers and NASCAR had left a different impression. "Last week, they stressed a lot to me that the penalties were for pit road violations after the race and the jeopardy that it put everybody in after the race, and I understand that part. Yesterday it was all about being on probation and on the race track. So just a little bit confused about that."
And of course, Harvick and Busch were still bickering about the original incident on Saturday night at Darlington. Harvick dismissed Kyle Busch's account that he had a flat tyre on lap 363 that caused him to hook Harvick into a spin, rather than it being retaliation. "It's kind of one lie after another [from Busch] and you see everything that happened after the race," said Harvick.
"Believe that for what it's worth," Busch protested, pointing out that "I did have to come to pit road during that caution period to change left side tires because they were flat.
"As far as us getting along, I'm not sure we ever really did ... At Homestead, I talked about the two-faced Kevin Harvick. And I believe that's out there. He'll talk to your face like you're best friends, but behind closed doors, he has the utmost disrespectful thoughts or whatever else."
The two are due to race in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race; Kevin Harvick qualified in second place for the race at Dover's Monster Mile, while Kyle Busch will start on the row behind in third. The two are under NASCAR probation which means that they will have to watch their step or face further sanction; both drivers say that they'll leave the feud behind them at the green flag.
"For me, it's done, it's over with," Harvick said. "We'll move on."
"That's all," Busch concurred. "I don't care."
And of course, we all believe that, and don't expect any further fireworks between the two on track this weekend at Dover, no sir.
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