It’s been the most talked-about incident for the last three days. It was one incident, one moment, and one driver on everyone’s mind.
Everyone is coming down on Kevin Harvick like the gavel from a court judge. All quick to pass the blame onto the No. 4 team, putting him down on social media every which way. It was to the point of people stepping over the line and beginning to berate his wife, DeLana. Then, as if some couldn’t stop, they went to the point of doing it to Keelan. It’s clear there are some lines that shouldn’t even be approached, much less crossed.
Today NASCAR made the call that no penalties were coming from the incident on Sunday that ended the Talladega race.
Harvick had to endure ridicule from fans, and his fellow drivers, but he still made the Eliminator 8 in the Chase. His quest to defend his title continues on.
Many were quick to harp on him staying out, and putting others in jeopardy. But try and answer this before jumping to conclusions: What would you have done?
Put yourself in Harvick’s firesuit, and sit in the seat of the Budweiser Chevrolet. You’re in Harvick’s spot, sitting in 10th, with an ailing engine, which has already been noted by him to the crew and was known among those that were broadcasting. Pit, lost spots, lose points, and potentially miss the Chase. Stay out, possibly lose positions and lose points, but possible big accident taking out competition, and either maintain or gain points and positions.
What would you do?
This incident is not close to being related to what happened at Richmond in 2013 with Michael Waltrip Racing. That day, teammates, although one seemingly not really wanting to, did what they needed to do so another member could make it into the title picture. As NASCAR put it, they were “manipulating the race,” and we all know what the aftermath of that was.
Comparing the two is unfair, and unrealistic.
Only one driver was involved on Sunday. Sure, a lot of drivers were effected by that one driver, but it was not like he was trying to manipulate the finish. The only thing Harvick was trying to do at the end of the CampingWorld.com 500 was get the best finish he could with the circumstances he was given. He was not going to win, that was clear, but he was not going to lose everything unless he did nothing.
So what did he do…he tried to finish. He did what every driver was hoping to do that afternoon, and that was escape Talladega.
Would you not want to do the same thing? After everything that had occurred, so many green-flag laps and everyone driving smart, each individual knew that with two laps to go, anything would happen.
It’s exactly what is expected at the end of these races, because everyone wants to go, and some just react quicker than others.
Harvick, what more could he have done? He tried to get out of the way, just as he did on the first “attempt” and let the cards fall as they may. He could have finished 10th or better if an accident had not occurred after the leader took the green flag. Then again, he could have finished 25th, 31st, or worse if the field made it through the first corner, and he’s not up to speed.
It’s easy for anyone, including other drivers, to be critical of Harvick because the result directly hurt their finish, and for some meant their Chase hopes were done. Do they have a right to be upset, of course, anyone would be.
However, criticizing a fellow driver and criticizing behind a computer screen, completely different aspects.
So instead, imagine the same situation, but instead of Harvick behind behind the wheel with Rodney Childers in the headset, put yourself in that spot. Could you, would you, and are you able to do anything different?
In that position, there was nothing more that could be done. The commitment was clear when Harvick stayed out and lined up for the restart. He was not going anywhere, and wasn’t surrendering that easily. In that spot, with the Chase on the line, and a title to defend, everyone would have done the same thing.
So instead of knocking the guy nicknamed “Happy” for his decision, remember only he can say why he decided to stay out, and finish.
If it were you, you’d have to deal with the same backlash that Harvick is facing now. The difference, Harvick has faced it before. A lot of us haven’t.