After last weekend's tangle between Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano, words were exchanged, tempers flared and the pair head to Michigan this weekend with little settle from the week before.
Guest Column By Cathy Elliott
‘Clichés’ earn that designation for a reason. Yes, they might be tired and hackneyed, but they’re also mostly true, which is why they are pulled out, dusted off and shoved up in people’s faces time and again. The final laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono served to vividly illustrate that point.
Most of us played the game “Musical Chairs” when we were kids, so we know from experience that two bodies cannot physically occupy the same space at the same time. This also applies to stock cars.
While going for the same line at Pocono, the cars driven by Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made contact. When that happens, ‘something’s gotta give.’
In this case, it was the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota. Both drivers were running near the front of the field at the time, but the incident spun Logano out. He ended up in 13th, while Harvick went on to finish fourth.
Some call it karma, while others refer to it as the Golden Rule, but whatever name you give it, it is a principle that repeatedly proves its veracity. We’re combining a couple of clichés this time, but most folks agree that ‘you need to give as good as you get,’ because ‘what goes around, comes around.’
Kevin Harvick certainly is having a good year. The driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet took over the lead in the driver standings at Richmond on May 1. A winner at Talladega in April, Harvick has posted five top five and 10 top 10 finishes and sits just 19 points ahead of second-place Kyle Busch headed into Michigan. Since his first season in the Cup Series in 2001, he has won a respectable 12 races.
Harvick and his wife DeLana have also enjoyed success in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, winning a couple of championships with their Kevin Harvick Inc. team. It is pretty safe to call Harvick a NASCAR veteran at this point in his career.
Until now, Joey Logano’s primary claim to fame was his age. Relative to other drivers in the Cup Series, he’s young. In fact, last year he became the youngest driver in history ever to win a race in NASCAR’s premier series. Now 20 years old, he has nine top 10 Cup Series finishes to his credit, and was the series’ 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the year.
With an aw-shucks, boy-next-door kind of vibe working, Logano has earned a reputation for being a nice, easy-going young man, one who is slow to anger and usually ‘turns the other cheek.’
But following the incident at Pocono, neither cheek was turned. Logano pulled his car onto pit road and came after Harvick full-face and straight on, looking ‘mad as a wet hen.’ At least I guess that’s what he looked like, having never seen a wet hen. Alive.
The result was something a lot of fans don’t care for; a melee ensued. Instead of allowing two drivers to settle their disputes mano a mano, crew members often get in between them, there’s a lot of pushing and shoving and yelling, and nothing gets accomplished.
“You get out of the car, you want to talk to the guy and see what's going on. And there's 6,000 crew members around him ... I don’t know how you’re supposed to settle something when you can’t even talk to the guy,” Logano said after the race.
Well, ‘with age comes wisdom.’ Harvick’s take on the incident was, “That's just racing. Hate that it happened and we'll just go on and keep at it. ... You can't talk to him. He's 20."
At 34, Harvick is hardly ready for the front-porch rocker, but in all fairness, Logano did take a shot at DeLana, saying, “His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do, so it's probably not his fault.”
Feisty -- and business-savvy -- Mrs. Harvick promptly responded by having merchandise produced bearing the phrase “I wear the firesuit in this family,” sure to be a big seller with female race fans. Apparently, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough sell T-shirts.’ I’m paraphrasing that one a little bit, but it was too good to pass up.
Although unfortunate, the entire Harvick/Logano mini-feud has been awfully entertaining, and in the end was chalked up simply as ‘one of those racing deals.’ The Harvicks earned a few bucks at the souvenir hauler, and Logano earned some respect for standing his ground and speaking his mind. ‘It’s a dog-eat-dog world’ out there on the racetrack, and a guy can’t just ‘roll over and play dead.’
Cute little puppies can grow up to become big, fierce dogs, remember. And sometimes, they do bite back.