Monday, June 23, 2014

Latest Verse, Same As The First: Harvick Unhappy Again

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Kevin Harvick left Sonoma Raceway Sunday unhappy with his team’s inability to turn a lightning-fast race car into a winning race car.
Harvick led 23 laps in Sunday’s race, but he and his Budweiser Chevrolet team waited until late in a fuel run before making a critical pit stop, then gave away positions on pit road waiting an extra 2-3 seconds for the fuel cell to fill. He restarted 11th -- venting his spleen over the in-car radio about lengthy pit stops that are “getting old” -- then promptly got swept-up in a crash triggered when Clint Bowyer spun off the front bumper of pole sitter Jamie McMurray.
“Today was just another day with the fastest car,” grumbled Harvick after a 20th-place finish. “We had a chance to win the race and kind of flubbed it up again. (We) just got ourselves bad track position and crashed.”
Harvick’s unhappiness is understandable. With a minor twist of fate – or increased expeditiousness on pit road – he could easily have four or five victories this season, instead of just two. While happy with the performance of their race car, he and crew chief Rodney Childers have to wonder how many opportunities they can squander before costing themselves what should be a golden opportunity to race for the championship.
There’s another problem, as well.
If Harvick continues to lambast his over-the-wall crew on a weekly basis, it’s only a matter of time until someone takes offense. Justified or not, nobody enjoys being dressed down on national television. Crew members seldom (if ever) have an opportunity to turn the tables, grabbing the nearest microphone and bad-mouthing their driver for a lousy final restart, or sticking it in the SAFER barrier while leading.
Criticism – or at least the kind of criticism that takes place outside the weekly competition meeting – is decidedly divisive, no matter how many times you mouth the cliché about “winning as a team and losing as a team.”
Finger pointing never works over the long haul, especially when the same fingers get pointed, week after week. Harvick expects a high level of performance from his team, and he is entitled to do so. His concerns have almost certainly been voiced behind closed doors at Stewart Haas racing this season, apparently to no avail. At this point, publicly poking the open wound is the only way for Harvick to draw attention to the issue and spur a change.

Until that happens, expect additional verses of the same race day refrain.


  1. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Nobody paying attention to the fact that the pit time breakdown showed the .7 seconds slower than Johnson on that stop, but Harvick's pit lane time 1.5 slower.

  2. Anonymous6:27 PM

    I can understand Kevin being upset but he will never get they guys to do any better or want to do any better by calling them out like this. How about talking to them man to man and not through the media who takes it and runs it over and over. I am sorry but Kevin has to learn a better way to get his guys to come together.

  3. I am sure they have had many talks in the Monday morning meetings about this problem. My question is why not do something about it. It has been a problem all year. Losing 2 or 3 spots on a stop gets old real quick.

  4. Harvick has always been a whiner and has never made a mistake in his career, just ask him.

  5. And he calls kyle a cry baby.

  6. Anonymous7:28 AM

    It's been fun watching him get mad every week. Just like I enjoy watching Danicant run in the back with top notch equipment every week. Glad to see Edwards win but I'm still a Jimmie fan.

  7. Anonymous9:34 AM

    If he wants to beat Johnson then he should take a look at how that team works. It's rare that the driver calls out the crew. Chad will do it when it needs to be done but Jimmie doesn't. What the point in biting the hand that feeds. Once in a while maybe the crew needs a wake-up call, but it has to be the exception and not the rule.

  8. He's a spoiled little brat that takes his ball and goes home cry me a river him and Stewart are perfect for each other two babies

  9. Anonymous2:45 PM

    it is always interesting how it is often the same drivers who badmouth their pit crews and crew chiefs. Not good for morale and in the long run, bites the driver and team in the butt.

  10. The true sign of a Champion (NOT)

  11. At almost every track this year Harvick has been three tenth's faster in race trim then anyone. And he will tell you he is the best driver so why doesn't he make them few spots up.

  12. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Harvick is a great talent but doesn't have much in the leadership department. Praise in public and scold in private. I know he is frustrated but yelling about it in the radio isn't helping. Does he think they don't know or that they were not trying as hard as they could? Stuff like this creates cracks in a team and they don't show themselves when things are going well. If they start to struggle the team could implode because they know their "leader" doesn't have their back. Next time Harvick slips on the track and loses 3 positions I would like to see a crew member get on the radio and cuss him out.

  13. I am so appreciative that you wrote on this topic! It has been happening in motorsports for years and it's always frustrating to see a talented driver caught up in a war of words instead of the battle on the track. Thanks for a great blog!!