Anyone really surprised that NASCAR came down on Team Harvick with a passel of penalties over the “failed” window brace last Sunday at Las Vegas? I doubt it. You know what I also doubt? That is is going to hurt Kevin Harvick very much.
Harvick already has the win at Atlanta, effectively qualifying him for the playoffs. If more than 16 drivers get wins, it could make things interesting, but come on, how often does that happen?
What’s more, this isn’t like Joey Logano’s situation last year, where his win was “encumbered” after violations were uncovered. The 22 was having its share of ups and downs in 2017. This is not the case for Harvick.
Conveniently, the four team at SHR has Phoenix coming up on the schedule. The track now known as ISM (Igenuity Sun Media) is something of a personal playground for the 2014 champion. Eight- let me repeat that- eight! of his career Cup victories have come at Phoenix. Based on his performance so far this season, there’s no reason to think he won’t be a serious contender this week.
So yeah, the loss of points COULD hurt, car chief Robert Smith will get a couple of weeks off, and a couple of wallets will be a little lighter. This team won’t feel it much.
Anyone who reads these pages much knows my comments about Harvick can often be construed as unkind. Too often, he reminds of that smart-assed kid at the back of the classroom who is all too happy to stir the pot. It’s kind of like former Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles, who was nicknamed “Puff.” The nickname was for Nettles’ knack to stir something up, and- puff!- disappear. Yeah, there’s some bias involved. Harvick has tangled over the years with a few personal favorites like Ricky Rudd, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.
I have to point out that Harvick and another driver I’ve been known to criticize- Denny Hamlin both did something really cool. Fledgling Matt DiBenedetto has a team struggling to survive. They are racing without sponsor support. So what do Hamlin and Harvick do? They put up money for the 32 team. NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip is also kicking in money. How cool is that?
Hey, these men have souls. Competition- especially in the octane and dangerous world of racing- can bring out the worst in us at times. Get a lot of these guys away from the track, and it’s a different deal. It’s cool to see the racing community rally around DiBenedetto. Respect to Hamlin, Harvick and Waltrip.