Kevin Harvick pushes Brad Keselowski, then leaves the rest to Jeff Gordon

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After 13 years of battling in the Sprint Cup wars, Kevin Harvick knows that you have to pick your spots both on and off the racetrack.

After Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 was over, Harvick could see the maelstrom building around Brad Keselowski.

Harvick was incensed at a late conflict with Keselowski and pushed him from behind on pit road to get his attention.

When Keselowski looked back at Harvick, that gave Jeff Gordon the opening he was looking for, grabbing Keselowski by the collar of his firesuit.

And the brawl was on from that point.

Wisely, Harvick decided to back off as quickly as he approached Keselowski and let others have at it. After all, Harvick did not want to jeopardize either his runner-up finish to Jimmie Johnson, nor his still alive bid to advance to the season finale and championship-deciding race at Homestead in two weeks.

“We fought all day, put ourselves in a position to win,” Harvick said. “A lot happened late in this race and we were able to put ourselves back in the hunt.”

While Harvick can be aggressive himself, he was surprised at what Keselowski did to Gordon, cutting down a left rear tire that eventually blew out, sending Gordon into a spin and ultimately dropping from a potential win to a disappointing 29th-place finish.

Obviously everyone was racing for everything they can,” Harvick said after the race. “We had a couple cautions there at the end.

“But yeah, the 2 (Keselowski) just bulldozed the 24 (Gordon) and the 24 wrecked. 48 (Johnson) and the 2 raced hard.

“At that point, there’s no rules and you hope for the best. Then after the race all hell broke loose. I told Brad he’s gotta fight his own fight.”

Having had his own conflict with Keselowski at Charlotte (as did Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart), and then an inadvertent conflict with Matt Kenseth last week at Martinsville, Harvick can empathize with how Gordon was feeling.

“Yeah, we kinda had the same thing last week,” Harvick said. “Everything’s just so intense right now. We’re throwing caution to the wind. Everyone’s racing as hard as they can. I’m glad to be in the mix.”

Harvick said he would not have taken the chance that Keselowski did that late in the race. There’s being aggressive, but Harvick felt Keselowski stepped over that line when he made contact with Gordon.

“I couldn’t run over the 24 and the 48 like that,” Harvick said. “I think (Keselowski’s) racing as hard as he can for his team. When it gets down to that type of racing, these things will happen as they happen.

“You’re just trying to do all you can do. Obviously, it was no-holds-barred there with the 2 (Keselowski). He was in bulldoze mode.”

The new elimination format for this year’s Chase is generating much of the bitter feelings and conflict between drivers.

“It’s being played rough,” Harvick said. “It’s just one of those deals where everybody’s trying to get everything they can, and you just do what you can to do the best for your team.”

Perhaps that was what Keselowski was trying to do as well, but when you take a chance like that, there’s a price to pay.

“If you’re gonna race like that, you’re gonna have to man up,” Harvick said.

Will there be any carryover between Gordon and Keselowski next Sunday at Phoenix?

Harvick didn’t get into specifics, but there’s much to be read between the lines, when he smiled and said, “Next week’s gonna be pretty crazy.”

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”