Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick in dispute
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- NASCAR officials will meet early next week to determine whether sanctions will be levied against Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick for their postrace confrontation Saturday night at Darlington Raceway.
The last time drivers were penalized for such behavior was last season when Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards were placed on probation -- Edwards also was docked points and money -- following an incident in the Nationwide Series race at Gateway, sending a message that further outbreaks may result in severe punishment.
"We're evaluating the entire weekend," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.
Busch and Harvick's situation in particular will be evaluated because it potentially could have put crew members and track officials on pit road in danger.
The incident occurred after Regan Smith won his first Sprint Cup race. Busch parked behind Harvick on pit road, and the two cars sat there for almost a minute before Harvick climbed out.
Harvick then approached Busch's car and took a swing at him. As Harvick swung, Busch drove away, pushing Harvick's car into the inside retaining wall on pit road.
Harvick then went to Busch's hauler and shouted out a few profanities before meeting with NASCAR officials. Busch later joined them.
Harvick simply said it was a racing deal, that "things happen."
Busch went into much greater detail.
"Harvick is up there on the top a little bit loose and I had a run and I gave him room," Busch said of the on-track incident. "He kind of came up off the wall. That's kind of a bad angle, obviously. He lifted early to let me go into Turn 3 and I thought it was all good.
"Then he drives into the back of me there. He made my car loose all the way through the exit and just made a run for those two guys to get back on my inside. Then obviously Clint [Bowyer] wrecked bouncing off of Harvick. Just uncalled for and just unacceptable racing."
Busch went on to finish 11th and Harvick 17th.
On the cool-down lap, the two dodged each other in a game of cat-and-mouse coming toward the entrance to pit road. Once on pit road Harvick stopped and Busch stopped behind him.
"After the race I was just kind of cooling down and talking to Dave [Rogers, crew chief] on the radio about that I wanted to talk to him in the hauler about something and I see the Harvick car, the 29 come up flying up on my inside through [Turns] 3 and 4," Busch said.
"Instead of going to pit road I thought he was going to force me into the inside of the pit road wall so I gave myself a little bit of room and turned up to go back up onto the race track like I would for another cool down lap and he followed me. When he pulled up next to me, I tried to back up."
Busch said he blew out his reverse during this maneuver, then did a U-turn onto pit road.
"I was just trying to get away from the situation with Harvick and unfortunately he got to pit road before me so I pulled in behind him," Busch said. "I knew if I tried to turn left or right he was going to run into me or block me or something. I just stayed behind him.
"I was just going to sit there, not worry about it and let him cool his head for a second and let him figure out that we just need to go back to the garage area. Instead of him doing that, he wanted to get out of his car I guess and wanted to fight."
Busch, with Rogers telling him on the radio not to do anything silly, wasn't interested in that.
"I knew that wasn't going to be a good situation and when I saw him getting out of his car, I knew it wasn't going to be a good situation," Busch said. "My choices were limited, I was either going to get punched in the face and then wait for Harvick to get back in his car for me to go or just drive through his car and push it out of the way so I could get out of there and try not to get hit or anything like that.
"I made a judgment call there and it wasn't one of the best choices that I had, but I pushed his car out of the way on pit road and unfortunately there were men walking down pit road. I hate it that somebody could have gotten hurt, but I was just trying to get away from it and get back to my hauler and go on with my own business."
Montoya and Newman met with NASCAR on Friday to discuss their incident from the previous weekend at Richmond in which Newman got into the back of Montoya's car to cause one wreck and Montoya later retaliated by wrecking Newman.
Sources said the meeting turned physical, with reports that Newman allegedly struck Montoya. Neither driver admitted to a physical altercation.
"We made it clear to them that this is their final warning," Tharp said. "We also made it clear to them that we will be watching them very closely. The meeting did not go as well as we had hoped it would."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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