Harvick Tells His Story

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TALLADEGA, Ala. – Kevin Harvick addressed the media Friday morning at Talladega Superspeedway. It wasn’t necessarily to apologize for his actions from last week at Martinsville, but more of an explanation of “what he learned” from the entire incident.

After spinning Coy Gibbs following a re-start during last Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, NASCAR officials “parked” Harvick, removing him from the track. In turn, Harvick parked his truck directly in front of the NASCAR trailer.

Harvick and crew chief Todd Berrier were summoned to the trailer, and Harvick refused to come. He was subsequently suspended for last Sunday’s Winston Cup Virginia 500 at Martinsville, and then NASCAR fined him $35,000 and extended his probation until the end of the year.

Harvick was already on probation for an incident involving himself and Greg Biffle on pit road following the Busch Series race at Bristol.

The incident and following consequences, Harvick said, have helped him get a better understanding of himself and his sport.

“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned here is that I wasn’t seeing down the path they (NASCAR) were looking,” Harvick said. “That’s a road I have to be able to see down in order to succeed in this sport. We can win races and we can do a lot of things, but unless I can walk up into that trailer and sit down in that office and have a normal, decent conversation with them (NASCAR), then I’m not going to get anywhere. I’m more understanding of the things that they do now.

“I don’t really think NASCAR wants an apology for anything. There’s a lot of different ways you can look at it. Parking in back of the (NASCAR) trailer probably wasn’t the most intelligent thing to do. There’s no excuses in this situation, there are just circumstances that happened. I don’t think anybody expects or needs an apology. We’ve all been through a lot of tough things in our lives, the biggest thing is that you have to learn from them and go on from here.”

Harvick wasn’t the only one who suffered the consequences of his actions, as he soon learned.

“This is not something that just affected myself and (team owner) Richard (Childress),” Harvick said. “This is something that affected myself and Richard and my wife and my fans and my sponsors. There are so many veins that start to bleed out from this situation, and there are a lot of different aspects of the sport that I didn’t even know that I affected. That has helped me to understand and know where people are coming from. There are a lot of conversations I wouldn’t have had had this not happened. I’m not saying this is a good situation, but I sure have learned a lot from it.”

Many different opinions about Harvick and about his behavior this past weekend have been expressed by members of the media and his fellow drivers. And believe it, Harvick has heard most of them.

But then, he’s learned to turn a deaf ear on most of them.

“The drivers in the upper echelon of our sport have been the most supportive group for me,” Harvick said. “They’ve given me a lot of good advice and told me to go on. Perhaps the best pieces of advice I have gotten have been from Rusty Wallace. He’s been in these sorts of situations and he’s helped me get a handle on a lot of things.

“The people that have supported me and have talked to me are the ones that I listen to, the ones that have won races in our sport, the ones that have been champions. Most of the people that are voicing their opinion, they’re not worth wasting my time over.”

So, how will Harvick handle things the next time he doesn’t like how someone is racing him? The suspension all but killed Harvick’s chances of winning a Winston Cup championship this season.

“There’s been a plateau set here now,” Harvick said. “There’s not going to be people that are going to go out there and wreck somebody, because there are circumstances to pay. There’s a consistent bar set here. We’re here to win races, and that’s what we’re going to try to do. I’m not going to worry about the other guy.

“It did help our race team come together, though. It gave us some time to sit down and talk to each other and really understand each other. We’re all on the same page, and we all understand where we’re coming from. We’re a race team now.”

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