Thursday, May 12, 2011
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch meet again
By David Newton
DOVER, Del. -- Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were called to the NASCAR hauler before Thursday's Truck Series practice at Dover International Speedway, their second meeting with the governing body since Saturday's post-race pit road confrontation at Darlington.
The meeting came two days after each driver was fined $25,000 and placed on four-race probation for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series.
Neither was eager to discuss details of the second meeting, which included NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, or the fine before heading onto the track for the first of two practices.
"I've got better things to do," Busch said. "NASCAR has to police their series as best as they feel they need to. I'm all for it. I think it was fine."
Harvick smiled and repeatedly said he would answer all questions during Friday's media availability.
Kristi King, NASCAR's director of communications for competition, said it is not uncommon for officials to request a follow-up meeting after a penalty has been issued.
The first meeting occurred following Saturday night's confrontation in the Cup race. Harvick and Busch got into each other late in the race, resulting in Harvick and Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer wrecking.
But what forced NASCAR to penalize the drivers happened later near the entrance to pit road when Busch shoved Harvick's car into the inside retaining wall after Harvick climbed out of his car to take a swing at the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
NASCAR felt that put crew members and track officials approaching the incident in danger, and there was no choice but to react.
Beginning this weekend, NASCAR plans to adopt its postrace procedure in hopes of avoiding a repeat of that. Officials now will stay at each pit stall in all three series after the race until every car or truck has pulled behind the wall.
In the past, officials begin moving to the garage once the lead car takes the checkered flag signaling the final lap.
Some have suggested that had officials been nearby when Harvick and Busch first parked their cars they may have been able to detain Harvick and prevent what happened next.
"Just in an effort to make sure we have all our bases covered we've instructed them all to stay out there in the future," King said.
King said there are no plans to further explain to drivers what "boys, have at it" means even though two-time defending Cup champion Tony Stewart called for that during a Wednesday press conference to announce plans for his charity race at Eldora Speedway.
"I think they need to do a better job of explaining to all of us what it means and what's acceptable and not acceptable," Stewart said. "I'm all for whatever they want to do, but every time a situation happens like this, we all go, 'Well, this is what they told us, and this is what it is.'
"There are a lot of us curious about what does this really mean and what's acceptable and what's not. I don't think it's out of the question to know what's acceptable and what's not acceptable in all the scenarios."
Harvick, in response to Stewart's comments, posted on Twitter, "Have to agree."
King said in NASCAR's opinion "the rules are clear."
"We have put in place the fines and penalties for things that have happened," she said. "We feel like they know what have at it boys means. They know what's right and they know what's wrong and they know what the limitations are out there."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.