Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Updated: May 11, 8:06 PM ET
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch punished
By David Newton
CONCORD, N.C. -- Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were placed on four weeks' probation and fined $25,000 Tuesday for their pit road confrontation following Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
Harvick tweeted about his penalty, and officials from Kevin Harvick Inc., confirmed the punishment Tuesday.
Both drivers are on probation in all three of NASCAR's series -- Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck -- until June 15.
"We have to maintain a safe environment on pit road," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.
The confrontation -- a carryover from an on-track incident with five laps remaining when Busch, Harvick and Clint Bowyer were involved in a three-wide accident that wrecked Harvick and Bowyer -- occurred after Regan Smith won his first Cup race.
Busch parked behind Harvick on pit road, and the two cars sat there for almost a minute before Harvick climbed out.
Harvick then approached Busch's car and took a swing at Busch. As Harvick swung, Busch drove away, pushing Harvick's car into the inside retaining wall on pit road.
NASCAR's biggest concern about the incident was several officials and crewmen were in the area and could have been hit by Harvick's car. Busch acknowledged after the race a mistake was made after both drivers talked with NASCAR.
"I made a judgment call there and it wasn't one of the best choices that I had, but I pushed his car out of the way on pit road and unfortunately there were men walking down pit road," Busch said. "I hate it that somebody could have gotten hurt, but I was just trying to get away from it and get back to my hauler and go on with my own business."
NASCAR did not penalize Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya for extending their on-track confrontation at Richmond into a physical confrontation inside the NASCAR hauler on Friday at Darlington.
"We made it clear to them in our meeting that this was their final warning and
that we would be watching them closely and that enough is enough,'' Tharp said. "We believe
they got the message loud and clear, raced hard but cleanly in Saturday night's
race and will continue to do so moving forward.''
Dale Earnhardt Jr., speaking from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday, said he believes NASCAR's decision to punish Harvick and Busch was a good one.
"NASCAR has to make themselves visible and tangible as some kind of a ruling body," Earnhardt said during an iRacing demonstration in Charlotte to show off the world's largest HD screen. "If they just kind of step back and let the idiots run the asylum, that's not going to work out too well.
"I was just glad they didn't set precedence [by] taking away points. I was glad to see they didn't touch that because that's kind of a commodity at this point until we understand the new system."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.