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.