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Harvick now in spotlight after incendiary comments toward RCR (VIDEO)


In the long run, Darrell Wallace Jr.’s win in today’s Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway – the first for an African-American driver in NASCAR national series competition in almost 50 years – will be what’s most remembered from the event.

But right now, that accomplishment may be overshadowed by Kevin Harvick’s fiery verbal missive toward Richard Childress Racing, the team he’s currently chasing a Sprint Cup championship with and the team he’ll be leaving at the end of the year for Stewart-Haas Racing.

With 13 laps to go in today’s Truck race, RCR’s Ty Dillon got into the back of Harvick while battling for second place behind Wallace. With a little “help” from the oncoming Matt Crafton, Dillon wound up spinning Harvick out.

Dillon proceeded to hit Harvick’s truck repeatedly under the ensuing yellow, followed by Harvick stopping near Dillon’s stall on pit road. That drew out several members of Dillon’s crew for a brief confrontation, which saw an orange hammer launched toward Harvick’s truck during the proceedings.

That was the first round of fireworks. Then came round two.

“The 3 [Dillon] just dumped me, and that’s exactly the reason I’m leaving RCR because you have these kids coming up that have no respect for what they do in this sport,” Harvick said to Fox Sports. “Everything’s fed to them with a spoon.

“I cut him slack all day and he just dive-bombs me in there and dumps me…It’s a shame you’ve got to get taken out by some rich kid like that.”

It should be noted that Ty Dillon will be moving up to RCR’s Nationwide Series squad next season, while Austin Dillon is expected to jump to Sprint Cup and basically replace Harvick in that category.

Going into this weekend, Harvick had been the one driver out of the major Chase players that seemed the most “under the radar” despite having signaled his title contention earlier this month with a win at Kansas.

Furthermore, his looming departure from RCR hadn’t been at the forefront during the post-season. But after he effectively buried the team today, it sure will be now.

For his part, team owner Childress chose not to respond in kind to Harvick. According to Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long, Childress said he had “too much class” to say what he really wanted to say but added that when he would, he’d “say it to [Harvick’s] face.”

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall for that? But snark aside, this may have seriously negative implications for Harvick’s title bid. Currently fourth in the Chase at 26 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson, he is still very much in the mix with four races to go – and a big result in tomorrow’s Cup race could help him hack into that deficit.

But Harvick and Childress must be able to set this apparent discord aside in order to focus on their main goal. And now, they’ll have to do that while their entire No. 29 squad faces what’s sure to be an ample amount of scrutiny after today.

Whether or not the two can get back on the same page has now become the main storyline for tomorrow’s critical Chase race in Virginia.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.