The multi-car crash with 54 laps to go in last night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway affected a lot of Chase hopefuls, but Kevin Harvick and pole sitter Denny Hamlin’s nights were also ruined as a result.
The incident was triggered by contact between Brian Vickers and Denny Hamlin, who suffered a cut tire and then went up toward the wall to start the melee.
When Hamlin came back around to pit road, he found Harvick’s car in his stall and, after being told to do so by his Joe Gibbs Racing crew, promptly used the front bumper of his car to push Harvick out.
That didn’t seem to make Harvick very happy and he promptly hopped out of his No. 29 Chevrolet and went toward Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota. But instead of instigating a fight – something that the fans in attendance at BMS seemed to be expecting – Harvick ducked his head in Hamlin’s window and had a non-eventful discussion about the matter.
“He just told me his version of it,” said Harvick, who finished 34th. “It’s all good. It’s Bristol racing and it’s just something I wanted to know.”
As for Hamlin, he said he immediately knew that the frustrated Harvick hadn’t yet seen the replay of the incident.
“Luckily, we were able to talk right away and hash it out,” said Hamlin, who wound up 28th. “The No. 55 [Vickers] just cut down on us right in the middle of the straightaway and it cut my right front tire.
“I’m just in the car and a steering wheel holder at that point. It caused a huge accident. It sucks, but I didn’t cause it.”
The crash continued what has been an extended rough patch for Hamlin, who hasn’t had a Top-10 finish since his eighth-place effort at Pocono back in June. That was 10 races ago.
“We cannot catch a break,” he said. “You’ve got to laugh at it at this point. It’s somewhat humorous.”