Kevin Harvick declares that Matt Kenseth won’t win Sprint Cup title

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One Chase contender accidentally victimized another on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway when on Lap 229 of the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500, Matt Kenseth spun out, tagged Kevin Harvick, and sent him into the wall.

Kenseth recovered for a sixth-place finish, while Harvick finished 33rd after extensive repairs in the garage following the crash. Harvick is now last among the eight remaining Chasers at 28 points behind Kenseth, who’s in the fourth and final spot that will advance to the Sprint Cup Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A win at either Texas Motor Speedway or Phoenix International Raceway over the next two weeks can still send Harvick to South Florida with a shot at the title.

And considering Harvick’s strong speed all year long on 1.5-mile ovals like Texas, not to mention his superb body of work at Phoenix (five wins, including three of the track’s last four Cup races), the job is certainly doable.

But that didn’t stop Harvick from vowing that Kenseth will not emerge as the champ following today’s race.

“He won’t win this championship,” Harvick said of the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. “If we don’t, he won’t.”

Looks like Eddie Gossage and Co. in Fort Worth have something else to promote for their AAA Texas 500 next Sunday.

For his part, Kenseth took full blame for their incident, which came while Harvick was running sixth and he himself was in eighth. Harvick had started the race in 33rd position, worst among the Chasers.

“I don’t blame [Harvick] for feeling that way honestly,” Kenseth said. “It was a mistake — he was an innocent bystander and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I totally understand how he feels and I totally understand why he would say that. I totally get it.

“He knows it was a mistake too, but that doesn’t really help him. I don’t really blame him. He got taken out of the race for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Luckily for Harvick, a poor result like this that would’ve possibly destroyed his championship hopes in the previous Chase format can still be canceled out.

“The good thing about this format is you have two more weeks and two race tracks that we can win on,” he said. “Everybody was so worried about us starting in the back and we wrecked at the front. Unfortunate.”

Meanwhile, Kenseth – who’s going to be under enough pressure trying to hold on to one of those four spots in the Championship Race – may have something else to worry about.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.