When push comes to shove

Kevin Harvick explains last week's actions at Texas Motor Speedway.

When push comes to shove
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Post race brawl between the crews of Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski
Post race brawl between the crews of Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski
Post race brawl between the crews of Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kevin Harvick doesn’t regret “the push”.

Although Harvick didn’t have a dog in the fight between Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon at Texas Motor Speedway, his infamous push of the Team Penske driver became the catalyst for the biggest brawl to hit NASCAR since, well, probably the dustup he and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team had with Ricky Rudd at Richmond more than a decade ago.

The competitor in me obviously loves the controversy and loves the situations that it puts your competitors in.

Kevin Harvick

“The competitor in me obviously loves the controversy and loves the situations that it puts your competitors in,” Harvick said. “The dad in you, doesn’t really enjoy the hashtag (#harvicking), doesn’t really enjoy the circumstances of the situation but live and learn.

“That’s the one thing about this sport is you have to get over things quick. For me, dealing with it throughout the week was fine. I think as you move forward you just have to do the best that you can and try to handle things different. All in all it was a good weekend for us, but obviously afterwards, it’s not the way you wanted it to end for us.

Not premeditated

Harvick joked that he wasn’t bright enough to calculate his actions - or the outcome. Prior to shoving Keselowski in Gordon’s direction, he was just “leaning on the back of the car, taking it all in.” And while he has no issue with Keselowski’s style of racing, having been in a similar situation with him in the past he felt it was time for the Team Penske driver to face the music.

“I have no problem with the way Brad races,” Harvick said. “I think he races hard and that’s what we’re all supposed to do and in those positions, you’d probably do the same thing yourself.

“I’ve had him turn his back on me and just walk off and I don’t think that’s the appropriate way to handle those types of situations,” Harvick said. “It just kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I reacted. Obviously, I didn’t realize it was going to ignite that.”

The right stuff

When Harvick was involved in an accident with Matt Kenseth at Martinsville last month, the two drivers talked it out and settled their differences. What Harvick seems to take issue with as far as Keselowski is concerned is the driver avoiding some of the necessary confrontations between competitors in the garage.

Harvick doesn’t deny that he loves “controversy”. But as his son grows older and is more cognizant of what happens on and off the track, Harvick understands that he needs to decide what type of role model he will be.

The difficult part for me is to go home and realize that one day you’re going to have to answer those questions to your son.

Kevin Harvick

“The difficult part for me is to go home and realize that one day you’re going to have to answer those questions to your son,” Harvick said. “It’s definitely two different sides and how you have to looks at it and how you have to approach it.

“You look at Martinsville and how that situation was handled. I have a lot of respect for Matt and what he does on the racetrack. You leave the track, you talk about things and you figure out what went wrong and how to handle things moving forward. There’s just never that opportunity presented with Brad. That’s what frustrates myself. I’m not going to speak for everyone else.”

Gotta keep 'em separated

Harvick says his only issue in post-race disputes is when “the crew guys get involved.” Historically, when more teams that inject themselves into the situation, the quicker things escalate and get out of hand.

“That is really the biggest problem with the whole thing that I see,” Harvick said. “In my opinion you should park the cars in a fenced off area and if you have a crew member go inside that fenced off area your car is disqualified for the race.  We can all get out of our cars by ourselves and take our helmets off and take our window nets down. 

“I think that would solve a lot of problems.  A lot of these guys are 280 pound linebackers that came from whatever school, professional football, baseball, whatever team.  That part of it is not good.”

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