BRISTOL, Tenn. _ For years, Kevin Harvick was known for his hot temper, aggressive driving and unfiltered mouth. That attitude has been somewhat muted over the last few seasons, but this week the "Happy" Harvick of old showed up in style.
Earlier this week, Harvick appeared on the “Bubba The Love Sponge” radio show and was asked about his thoughts on the Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski incident that took place two weeks ago in Atlanta. Off came the filter and the Harvick of old went to town.
"I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a huge Carl Edwards fan,” Harvick said. “I think he’s fake as hell. But, for me the whole situation is, I think NASCAR handled it good. I wasn’t critical of it, I just said that I guess I grew up getting in trouble in NASCAR in the wrong era because it cost me a hell of a lot more money than it did these guys. But, that’s OK. It’s a new era and new things and new restrictions and I agree with letting the drivers handle things between themselves."
Responding to Harvick’s comments, Edwards did not hold back either. He told the Associated Press:
“I have absolutely no respect for (Harvick) I think he’s a bad person. That’s my opinion. I’ve told him that. We’ve had our deal before and his actions through that … were so devious and underhanded and cowardly that I just no respect for him. When people like that question me, it makes me feel better because if those people were lined up patting me on the back, I’d be on the wrong side of what’s right and wrong. And I truly believe that. I am not trying to be a good guy or a bad guy.”
Some may be surprised at the harshness of these comments, especially considering the fact Harvick has no dog in the Edwards-Keselowski fight. To find the reasoning for these sentiments, one has to go back to the 2008 Chase.
After sandbagging at the back of the pack for much of the day at Talladega, Edwards charged to the front late in the race and triggered a massive wreck that eliminated a number of Chase contenders – including Harvick. Following the incident, Harvick threw Edwards under the bus on television for triggering the incident and that did not sit well with Edwards.
“It looked like the 99 should have drafted all day, because obviously he wasn’t ready to race there until the end and made a mistake and tore up most of the field,” Harvick said.
Reports surfaced Edwards left Harvick a note after the race sarcastically thanking him for his comments. In Charlotte, Edwards went to Harvick’s Nationwide Series garage stall and the two got into a shoving match in which Edwards grabbed Harvick’s throat and Edwards ended up on the hood of Harvick’s car.
Two years later, this feud seems to be reigniting.
A lot of the focus has been on the lack of respect Keselowski has in the garage, but it appears Harvick has turned the tables on Edwards.
Harvick’s comment that Edwards is “fake” is something some in the garage and grandstands have felt for quite some time. Known as one of the nice guys in the garage when he first arrived on the scene, a variety of incidents with other drivers have shown another side of the Missouri native.
“I don’t think I ever said anything about his penalty being one way or the other, I made a crack about maybe I got in trouble in the wrong era and it was more expensive then,” Harvick said with a smile on Friday. “Things change and the sport changes and I’m not up-in-arms about anything like that. As far as the fake comment, I mean, you can’t be the nice guy; you can’t be the bad guy and you can’t be the bully. So….that is just how I feel about that.”
Edwards has had a number of get-togethers with other drivers as well. In 2006, Edwards pulled a move straight out of “Days of Thunder” when he drove off pit road and into the door of Dale Earnhardt Jr. following an incident late in a Nationwide race in Michigan. Following the October 2007 race at Martinsville, Edwards broke up a television interview to confront teammate Matt Kenseth. After walking away, Edwards returned and threw a fake punch that sent Kenseth ducking for cover.
“That’s just who I am,” Edwards told the AP. “All those people that say whatever they say, know that if I have an issue with them, I go speak to them. I don’t go talk behind their back like little girls, that’s what a lot of them do. I learned that wasn’t cool in about fifth grade.”
Never one to back down from another driver, Harvick has gotten into his fare share of scraps over the years. At Bristol in 2002, Harvick leaped over Greg Biffle’s car on pit road, grabbed him by the collar and got in his face for an on-track incident. The following year, Harvick got into it with Ricky Rudd in Richmond. After wrecking out of the 2006 All-Star Race, Harvick and Joe Nemechek pushed and shoved in the frontstretch grass at Charlotte. In 2007, Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya stood toe to toe and exchanged shoves at Watkins Glen after wrecking in the first turn.
Bristol has been known to fire people up from time to time and Edwards, Harvick and Keselowski are slated to complete in both the Nationwide and Cup Series events this weekend. NASCAR will sit down with Edwards and Keselowski on Saturday prior to the race, but once the drivers strap in and fire the engines there is no telling what could happen next.
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