NASCAR meets with Harvick, Edwards; drivers warned to ensure clash is past

Updated: October 12, 2008, 8:29 AM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick were warned before Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway not to let the physical confrontation they had on Thursday spill over onto the track.

Edwards and Harvick met with NASCAR president Mike Helton, vice president of competition Robin Pemberton and series director John Darby following the drivers' meeting.

There will be no fines and neither was placed on probation.

"NASCAR wants to make sure everything is fine, that it is behind them,'' NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. "And it is.''

Edwards and Harvick left NASCAR's hauler together, chatting as though they were long-time friends.

That wasn't the case in the Nationwide Series garage on Thursday when the two were involved in a confrontation that photos show including shoving and choking.

[+] EnlargeKevin Harvick, Carl Edwards
AP PhotoSprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards, right, scuffle Thursday in the Nationwide series garage area during practice in Concord, N.C.

Edwards stopped by Harvick's garage stall to discuss what he considered unnecessary comments that Harvick made after he triggered a multi-car accident in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

When Harvick turned to walk away witnesses said Edwards grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. That led to a shoving match that sent Edwards onto the hood of Harvick's No. 33 Nationwide car.

Harvick said he simply was "protecting our turf.''

"You've just got to be careful who you want to pick a fight with,'' Harvick said after qualifying for Friday night's Nationwide Race. "If you want to pick a fight with the wrong person sometimes it turns around and bites you, no matter how big and tough you think you are.''

Reminded that Edwards is in the thick of the Cup race, trailing two-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson by 72 points, Harvick responded, "So are we.''

After a brief pause, Harvick, who is 171 points out of first, added, "I could give two s---- about who Carl Edwards is and what he's in the race for.''

Edwards, who pulled up behind Harvick on pit road after knocking Harvick out of the top three in qualifying, refused to get into the war of words.

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"It doesn't matter,'' he said. "The truth, it just doesn't matter. I am what I am, he is what he is. If those things are different, that's fine. It doesn't bother me.''

Edwards said he's not concerned about racing around Harvick in any series, and the two had no trouble racing side by side in the Nationwide race.

"No matter what we think of each other personally, one of the best races I ever had in my life was Phoenix [2005] with him,'' Edwards said. "It was one of the neatest races I've ever been a part of. He's always been like that, one of those guys you can race literally an inch from, and it's awesome. I hope that doesn't change.''

Neither wanted to be around the other at Talladega after Edwards triggered a crash on lap 174 of 188 that took out Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle, Harvick and several other Chase contenders.

"I know that his fans won't be very proud of him sitting back there riding around like a pansy,'' Harvick said of Edwards after the incident. "If he had been racing all day, maybe he would have known how long the front of his car was.''

Edwards then left a note on the seat of Harvick's airplane that reportedly said, "I was really trying to screw up everyone's day. Love, Carl.''

Harvick said the whole situation could have been handled differently, adding he hadn't been a part of such a situation since the fifth grade.

Reminded that Edwards got into a physical confrontation with teammate Matt Kenseth after a race last season, he said, "Obviously, there's a common denominator.''

Jack Roush, Edwards' team owner, understood Harvick's frustration.

"The wreck at Talladega we feel very, very bad about,'' he said. "Carl was certainly not trying to do something to take Greg out. He made a mistake and people that didn't have any equity in that had to pay the price. For Kevin to be upset about it is not unreasonable at all.''

Roush was in Washington, D.C., on Thursday when he learned of the confrontation.

"I believe it was to the point of being a very bad deal,'' he said.

Roush met with Edwards after returning to Charlotte. He was glad NASCAR had a meeting with both drivers.

"I don't know what was said between them, but I would hope based on my conversations [with Carl] that he was holding out a hand of friendship,'' Roush said.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

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