Harvick apologizes for comments after Truck race

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Chase for the Sprint Cup contender Kevin Harvick has apologized this morning for his comments following yesterday’s Camping World Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway, in which he criticized the grandsons of his team owner, Richard Childress.

“You go back and look at the things that happened, and sometimes you regret the things that you say for sure,” Harvick said to Fox Sports according to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck. “(Saturday) was definitely one of them. I hate it for my guys, and everybody working on the cars.

“Obviously, when those emotional situations come about; you say things that you really don’t want to say. I just want to apologize to all of those guys, work hard today and try and do everything we can to win the race.”

Harvick and Ty Dillon made contact while fighting for second place late in yesterday’s Truck race, and the incident triggered a series of events that included Harvick stopping in Dillon’s pit stall for a brief confrontation with the latter’s crew.

After the race, Harvick was furious.

“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,” he said at the time. “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.”

Harvick will be leaving Richard Childress Racing’s Sprint Cup program at season’s end to go to Stewart-Haas Racing. Ty Dillon will move up to RCR’s Nationwide squad next year, while his older brother, Nationwide series driver Austin Dillon, is expected to jump to Sprint Cup.

Gluck reports that Harvick said he hasn’t had a conversation with Ty Dillon, noting that he wanted cooler heads to prevail first before he went about initiating that talk.

Currently fourth in the Chase, Harvick will start today’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 powered by Kroger at Martinsville from 10th starting position.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.