Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick has issued a statement expressing his regret for his part in the unseemly scenes on pit-road at Richmond International Raceway last Saturday, but insists that he had every right to be upset with what happened gone before.

Harvick, along with five RCR crew members from his #29 team, received a range of penalties for their involvement in an altercation following Saturday evening's Winston Cup event, which was precipitated by Ricky Rudd knocking Harvick out of second place and into the turn one wall on lap 394. A rather wild melee ensued between the two pit crews and several parties, Harvick included, were ushered straight into the NASCAR hauler. Harvick was fined $35,000 and placed on probation until 31 December for his role in the post-race incident.

"Emotions run high in this sport and, needless to say, mine were running very high after last Saturday night's race," he said in his statement, "I felt like we had a strong
finish in our run for the Winston Cup championship taken away for no reason. I believe I had every right to be upset, but I do regret that what happened after the race reflected poorly on GM Goodwrench and my other sponsors, and may have been offensive to some."

Team boss and CEO Richard Childress admitted that would accept NASCAR's decision to fine his crew.

"I understand that NASCAR did what it felt was in the best interest of the sport," he said, "As I said in my statement on Monday, emotions are a part of this sport and sometimes they cause things to happen or be said that are regretted later. Actions have consequences. Our job now is to regroup and stay focused on the goal that the #29 GM Goodwrench team started with this year, which is winning the NASCAR Winston Cup championship."

In addition to Harvick's fine and probationary period, crew chief Todd Berrier and team members Mike Scearce, Gene Pasquale, Kirk Almquist and Ken Barber all had action taken against them, with Scearce and Pasquale suspended until 17 September. Fines totalling $22,500 were also levied against the five crew members.

Duane Miller, general director of GM Parts Sales, said that the company would stand by Harvick, RCR and the #29 crew, even if it did not support what happened on Saturday night.

"We at GMSPO regret, and certainly do not condone, the actions taken by the #29 GM Goodwrench team after Saturday night's race in Richmond," he insisted, "We
understand that the sport of racing is emotional at times and tempers can run hot, but this was not the appropriate way to handle the situation."

 

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