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Probation won't quell animosity between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick

Kyle Busch (18) races Kevin Harvick during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway.
Kyle Busch (18) races Kevin Harvick during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway.

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

DOVER, Del. - Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch just don't like each other.

They didn't like each other before last week's late-race wreck at Darlington and subsequent confrontation on pit road.

They definitely didn't like each other during the pit road dust-up, when Harvick tried to punch Busch through the window of his car, and Busch pushed Harvick's unattended Chevrolet out of the way and into the wall.

They didn't like each other when NASCAR sat them down in the hauler at Dover International Speedway on Thursday and explained the terms of the probation they earned for the Darlington fracas.

And they don't like each other now.


During Thursday's meeting, Busch offered an explanation for hooking Harvick in the right-rear quarter panel and spinning him on the frontstretch. According to Busch, he was worried that a flat tire might have caused him to wreck, had he altered his line to avoid Harvick.

Harvick, talking to reporters Friday morning at Dover, called Busch's explanation "one lie after another."

Busch, who had called Harvick "two-faced" after Harvick spun him at Homestead in last year's season finale, said Friday that there was no reason to back off that opinion.

"As far as us getting along, I'm not sure we ever really did," Busch said. "That's why at Homestead I talked about the two faces of Kevin Harvick, and that I still believe that's out there. He'll talk to you to your face like you're best friends, but then behind closed doors, or him at home, or whatever, he has the utmost disrespectful thoughts."

Mind-reading aside, Busch acknowledged that his unintentional sliding into Harvick off Turn 2 after a restart on Lap 363 of 370 at Darlington may have triggered the incident. Harvick retaliated by moving down on Busch's No. 18 Toyota and ultimately by bumping him from behind. At the end of a three-wide wreck that collected innocent bystander Clint Bowyer, Busch spun Harvick on the frontstretch.

"I did have a left-rear tire flat, and I wasn't sure that, if I turned too hard to the right to stay off of him or to get away from him, that the car would actually spin out the wrong way-my car would," Busch explained. "So believe that, for what it's worth. I think there were some in-car cameras ... you can see. I did have to come to pit road during that caution period to change left-side tires, because they were flat."

Harvick wasn't buying it.

"Yesterday, Kyle's explanation was he had a flat tire, and he hooked me on the straightaway," Harvick said. "It's kind of one lie after another. ... For me, the way that I was brought up and taught to race, when you hook somebody in the right rear quarter panel, that's the equivalent of throwing your gloves off, in my eyes.

"That's the point where everybody's reached the boiling point. Basically, the only answer I get out of Kyle is 'I'm a racecar driver, not a fighter.' But if you drive like that, you're going to have to learn how to take care of yourself."

Busch's response? "Apparently, he's watching too much hockey. (Harvick is a Philadelphia Flyers fan). That's what you do on your own time during the week, I guess."

Probation may keep the drivers apart on the racetrack until the term expires on June 15, but it won't do anything to repair their relationship.

"I've never gotten along with the guy," Busch said.

And that won't change.

Asked whether he and Busch will ever get along, Harvick replied, "That probably won't ever happen."