Harvick, Berrier unhappy with burning foam in door
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- During a late caution in Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, the safety foam in the right door of Kevin Harvick's car smoldered as it melted, forcing him to climb out while safety workers extinguished it.
The foam apparently overheated when it got too hot from the tailpipe near the door, a problem several teams encountered with the Car of Tomorrow in its debut a week earlier.
This one appeared worse because electrical wires from the in-car television also melted and produced fumes.
"Smoke just started coming out of the right side of the door, so I guess blaming it on something else is probably not the right thing to do," Harvick said sarcastically. "I mean, this thing just started burning up, so it's almost turning into a joke now."
NASCAR officials will look at Harvick's door on Monday at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.
Brett Bodine, who played a key role in developing the car, said without looking at the car he can't determine what started the meltdown.
Todd Berrier, Harvick's crew chief, said the tailpipe appeared to be the culprit again.
"We had a little bit of that last week, but it was the size of a baseball," he said of the hole from the Bristol race.
This was a complete meltdown, leaving Berrier unsure what to do before Harvick returned to the track.
"Call somebody from NASCAR and ask what the hell we've got to do," he screamed over his radio.
After being told all of the foam had melted, Berrier said, "I'm not going to replace that [expletive] that burnt out. I don't want to sit here while another car passes us. So ask somebody what the hell we've got to do."
Harvick was allowed to return to the track, where he finished 41st after running in the top five much of the day.
Felix Sabates plans to sell his 20 percent interest in the Nextel Cup organization he owns with Chip Ganassi in five years.
"I'm leaving," Sabates said. "I've told Chip I'm leaving in five years."
Sabates got into stock car racing in 1989. He sold 80 percent of the company to Ganassi in 2001.
He doesn't want to stay in the sport so long that he can't get over the pit wall by himself.
"I'm going to leave at Richmond because Richmond always falls on my birthday," said Sabates, who is 65. "I'm going to walk over and look at Ganassi and say, 'See ya. I'm gone.' And watch it on TV."
Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Newman, who were involved in a run-in that spoiled Montoya's Cup debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season, were at it again on the final restart at Martinsville.
"We got three wide on the back straightaway and he overdrove Turn 1," said Newman, who exchanged words with Montoya afterward. "I thought he turned left. He said I just ran him out of room. He was up against the wall. It was just racin'."
Montoya also had a run-in with Tony Raines, sending the second-year driver into the wall on lap 377.
Mark Martin, who had the points lead going into Bristol, fell to 15th after missing his second straight start.
His replacement, Regan Smith, finished 26th in the No. 01 Chevrolet.
Coming off at the wheel
Dale Jarrett was the highest running Toyota at 21st when his right-rear wheel came off on lap 424.
Jarrett rallied to finish 28th, still making him the top Toyota driver.
"It's frustrating," Jarrett said. "But the guys did a great job on pit road."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.