12 November 2012
Mayhem as Harvick wins and Johnson wrecks
"It's just f***ing ridiculous, and they should be ashamed. It's embarrassing," he said after the race. "What offends me is the double standard - I spent a whole week being bashed by a half-dozen drivers about racing hard at Texas and how I'm out of control and have a death wish, and then I see bullsh*t like that,"
"These guys just tried to kill each other," he continued. "You race hard and I get called an asshole for racing hard and called with a death wish, and I see sh*t like that and it just p*sses me off."
Others were taking a more laid back view of the brawl: "The sport was made on fights," said Harvick. "We should have more fights. I like fights," he added, suggesting tongue-in-cheek that the only downside was that he'd been stuck out on the track in his car when it all kicked off, and hadn't been able to pitch in himself.
"Who won the fight?" quipped Hamlin afterwards. "I mean, the race?"
Good question: the race wasn't actually yet over. According to NASCAR, the resulting caution had come out with Harvick just yards from the white flag that would have sealed the race win for him. Harvick's team owner Richard Childress - worried about the car's fuel levels despite the race being put under a 15 minute red flag stoppage while the situation was resolved - protested that the #29 had already crossed the line before the caution, but TV replays backed the official view.
That meant Busch had one last chance to duel Harvick for victory under green-white chequered conditions, but Harvick was able to keep in front and claim the win - despite the fact that further back there were wrecks going on all over the place, seemingly started by one for Danica Patrick who was speared into the wall in turns 3 and 4 by contact with Jeff Burton which caused the #10 to lay down oil on the track that caught out others, wrecking the #78 of Kurt Busch and the #27 of Paul Menard in the aftermath.
"[Burton] said 'I'm sorry, I just bonzaied. I just went in too deep," explained Patrick. "The #31 clipped me, I spun around, got it going again. Was on fire I think, and I was trying to get across the line. I was literally trying to drive into the wall then drive along it because I couldn't see. I don't know exactly what happened. I heard there might have been oil from me, or something. If so, I definitely wasn't intending to make a mess!" she added.
“That was a wild ending, not sure at the time what was happening,” said Kurt Busch. "I saw the door of Biffle's car come across my left front, and from there I went on to smack the wall. I kept on going and was able to nudge Menard at the finish line for eighth ... I just stayed on the gas to get to the finish line."
"It was very dangerous," said Richard Childress, angry that NASCAR had not thrown a caution at this point, even if had ultimately been in his driver's favour in terms of the race result. "I'm really disappointed in the way the race was called ... Kevin almost wrecked coming off of 4. We take the white flag, she's coming across down here, everybody seen what was happening. I just knew the caution was going to come out, and he races back around and almost wrecks and we lose a car and could have hurt a driver, so I'm just still a little upset about that last not being a caution."
"There was more oil than there was asphalt, I can guarantee you that, and it was very visible," added Harvick. But NASCAR insisted that they had simply been unaware of the hazard until it was too late to react with a caution.
"At the time, [Danica] came all the way around and was out of harm's way," explained NASCAR's vice president of competition Robin Pemberton of why no caution materialised. "We didn't see any fluid or anything. She rode around on the apron and when she pulled up on the racetrack, there was smoke [but] it looked like tyre smoke.
Tagged as: Kyle Busch , Kasey Kahne , Jeff Gordon , Danica Patrick , Tony Stewart , Clint Bowyer , Ryan Newman , Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski , Jimmie Johnson , Phoenix , Denny Hamlin , Paul Menard
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