Harvick-Hamlin Duel Ignites

Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick

Danny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick had a heated argument in the garage at Dover. (Photo: Getty Images)

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DOVER, Del. – What started as a war of words between Denny Hamlin and Richard Childress Racing boiled over to an on-track incident and a near brawl in the garage area.
 
Hamlin's critical comments about RCR's penalty and appeal over Clint Bowyer's controversial New Hampshire race winning car seemed to spark a retaliation from Harvick in Saturday's first Sprint Cup practice session at Dover International Speedway as teams dialed in their cars for Sunday's AAA 400.
 
Harvick gave Hamlin's car a solid ram in the rear bumper as practice began, enough to cause damage to the FedEx Toyota. Hamlin hit Harvick back before both drivers brought their cars to their respective garages.
 
There an animated shouting match broke out between Harvick, Hamlin, crew chiefs Mike Ford and Gil Martin. Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby was in the middle of the melee as angry crew members also became involved in the scuffle.
 
"It's unnecessary because it didn't help either one of the race teams, us having to work on race cars," Hamlin. "I spoke my mind yesterday and I felt like I said a lot of truth and a lot of times that's not popular with the teams that are involved. That's something that I've always done is speak my mind.
 
"It's not always in my best interest to do that. The thing is now we just move on, get our car fixed. We're getting our speed back and now the goal is to move on."
 
Harvick declined to comment on the incident however team owner Childress shared some angry words.
 
"You can't win a pissing contest with a skunk," Childress said. "You don't throw stones if you live in a glass house."
 
Hamlin sparked the feud with his pointed comments at the team, Bowyer and Childress earlier in the weekend in the wake of the New Hampshire penalty controversy.
 
"When you look at the two teams and you look at the history of wrongdoing and penalties, the two teams when you compare them side by side, our integrity speaks for itself," Hamlin said. "We're trying to do things the right way. And so be it. Whatever they want to do."
 
But Hamlin said he and the Joe Gibbs Racing team will put the issue behind and concentrate on winning Sunday’s race and adding to his Sprint Cup Series point lead.
 
"Our job is still to win a championship," said Hamlin, who was seventh in the final practice while Harvick came back to run 15th. "We looked pretty good on speed, especially compared to those guys. We're going to be OK."

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