Friendship has limits for Kevin Harvick

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kevin Harvick said Friday he's established a distinct line with Denny Hamlin about their friendship on and off the track.

"I think where Denny and I stand is very clear between the two of us," Harvick said at Kansas Speedway.

The two tangled during a practice at Dover last week when Harvick intentionally bumped Hamlin's car as retaliation for comments Hamlin made about Richard Childress Racing and the controversy surrounding Clint Bowyer's illegal car.

NASCAR ordered both off the track, and the drivers had a heated discussion in their shared garage stall. But Hamlin said earlier this week that he called Harvick, whom he described as the driver he's closest to away from the track, and the two cleared the air.

Harvick said Friday friendships don't matter once you're at the track.

"I don't think there was ever going to be an issue with myself and Denny, off the race track," Hamlin said. "Obviously, in the garage it doesn't matter who your friends are or what happens away from the race track, it's all about what's happening at the race track and what's right and wrong for your particular race team."

Harvick has developed a reputation as a masterful player of mind games, and there was speculation that part of his reaction was meant to rattle points leader Hamlin at his weakest track of the 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship venues.

Harvick said he was strictly defending his race team.

"I don't think there was any games. That was all pretty serious," Harvick said. "I think everything was pretty serious as far as where we were coming from as a company and where we were coming from as a team."