There’s been a lot of talk here recently about the lack of “respect” between drivers and team members, which has lead to a number of NASCAR overtime wrecks, restarts, and personal confrontations.
Kyle Busch spoke about this issue before the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway a few weeks back, saying:
“We have completely lost any sense of respect in the garage area between drivers. That’s where the problem lies. Nobody gives two sh*ts about anybody else and it’s just a problem where everybody takes advantage of everybody as much as they can.
We’re all selfish, granted, but there was an etiquette that once did live here. Mark (Martin) started it, I think Tony (Stewart) really lived by it, I think Jeff (Gordon) lived by it, Bobby Labonte, Rusty for the most part, Dale Jarrett for sure… so, I mean, it did exist. That’s gone.
I’ve tried to talk to guys. They don’t listen. So, I’ve lost interest in talking to them.”
And now, another NASCAR veteran is speaking out about the issue, and it’s Kevin Harvick.
He made the comments while addressing the media ahead of the Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, when he was asked about all the contact towards the end of races.
He said the strength of the new Next-Gen cars offer the driver a lower risk of serious damage, and with no damage comes no consequences:
“I don’t know. The problem is there’s zero consequences with the car. That’s the biggest problem. It turns into slam or be slammed.
And there’s no consequences with tearing up the car because it is so durable.
I think every action has a reaction and so it’s difficult to say what the right answer is because I don’t want to sit here and say we need a single file restart or we need this or we need that because I think that one thing leads to another.
It’s conversation that has to — I don’t like racing like that but you have to race like that and by the end of the race everybody’s in the slam or be slammed category. So, it’s a tough situation.”
A NASCAR media member then asked:
“Why is that? Is that because there is all these cameras around and you just can’t pop somebody in the face afterward?”
“How many guys have you really seen get popped in the face? Like really how many guys have you. I’m asking you?
This isn’t the ’90s anymore… how many guys have you seen really get popped in the face in the last 10 years?”
He said probably only two or three times, and Harvick continued:
“Is that really realistic in today’s society to walk over and punch a guy in the mouth? Is that real?
The reason why is because the car, you can run into a steel wall and it keep going or a concrete wall and it keep going. So as drivers you learn. Everybody learns what you can and can’t do.”
And you just become more and more aggressive because the consequences are not — there are no consequences with the car, to tear the car up.”
Kevin was not amused…
You can check out the full conversation here: