In the closing laps of the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway, Ty Dillon, grandson of Richard Childress, and Kevin Harvick, driver of Richard Childress’s No. 29 Sprint Cup Series car, made contact crashing both trucks.
Following the crash, the two took several shots at each other under caution. Harvick taking a hard left on the backstretch making hard contact with the right front of the No. 3 truck driven by Dillon. As Harvick proceeded into turn three, Dillon took several shots at Harvick’s truck, appearing to be making attempts to spin him out. Though his attempts were unsuccessful, it escalated the situation even further. As the two truck made their way down pit road, Harvick stopped in the pit box of Dillon, blocking him from getting into his pits.
Harvick’s move infuriated the crew of the No. 3 truck. Several crew members approached the driver side door of Harvick’s truck yelling and reaching in towards Harvick. One crew member even threw a large sledgehammer at the truck, a move that definitely made all of the highlight reels.
Upon exiting the truck, Harvick made several comments aimed at Dillon and at the Richard Childress team. Harvick, with his temper raging, commented, “I don’t care what they throw at me, that’s exactly why I am leaving RCR is because you’ve got those kids coming up and they gor no respect for what they do in this sport and they’ve had everything fed to them with a spoon, so I cut him slack all day and you know he just drives – dive bombs me in there and dumps me, so it’s a shame you got to get taken out by some rich kid like that.” After making his comments, Harvick quickly headed to the tunnel and exited the track.
Richard Childress responded to Harvick’s comments saying, “I’m very disappointed – that’s all I can say. I’ve got to much class to say what I want to right now.” Childress was seen in the garage immediately after the incident and was visibly angry with what had just occurred. Childress also stated in the garage area after the incident, “I got plans for him.” Though he may not have known he was on camera at the time.
Evidently, Harvick received the message or had time to think about his comments. On Sunday morning Harvick issues an apology saying, ”I think there was just a lot of emotion involved, I hate it for everybody at RCR and you know you go back and look at the things that happened and sometimes you just regret the things that you say for sure and yesterday was definitely one of them, so I just hate for my guys and everybody working on the cars and obviously when those emotional situations come about you say things that you really don’t want to say, so just want to apologize to all those guys and work hard to day and try to do everything we can to win this race.”
One thing very noticeable about the apology is that he specified his RCR crew and the guys that work on his car. Although he did say “everybody at RCR” he did not specifically mention Dillon or Richard Childress himself. So was this apology aimed only at the No. 29 team in an effort to maintain a good relationship with them since he is so dependent on them for the next four races? It sure sounds like it. But, who can blame him. After all, Childress himself did say this on Dillon’s team radio before the incident, “***-**** if he messes with you, turn his ass upside down.”
One thing to keep in mind is that even though Harvick drives for RCR in the Cup series, he was driving for NTS Motorsports on Saturday on the Camping World Truck Series race. So, you have a driver that will only be employed for the team for another four races, and driving a truck that does not belong to the team. Therefore, there were no repercussions for Childress giving Dillon the instruction to turn Harvick if he “messed with him”, other than the friction it would create with Harvick.
We all know that, many times, emotional outbursts contain mostly truth. Harvick’s statements, though he says now he shouldn’t have said it, were most likely what he truly feels inside. Additionally, the statements that were caught on camera during Dillon’s emotional outburst were again, most likely filled with what he truly believes when he said, “He hadn’t done nothing for RCR but ****** up, he screws up stuff for us every year he’s been here.” Richard Childress’s response during Dillon’s tirade was simply, “I know.”
There is an obvious division among the RCR team. The question is can the team hold it together for the balance of the season to try and secure a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship? Also, how will Harvick race against the RCR team cars next season when he is driving for Stewart-Hass Racing? Only time will tell. But, it sure did make for an exciting afternoon at Martinsville Speedway.