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Kevin Harvick is justified in getting upset with his pit crew

By admin | July 2, 2014

 Kevin Harvick knows the value of a good pit stop

By Richard Allen

Over the course of his career, Kevin Harvick has been known for chastising his crew over the in-car radio following poor pit stops. This was again brought to light during NASCAR’s most recent races at the Kentucky Motor Speedway when the driver admonished his JR Motorsports crew during Friday night’s Nationwide Series race and his Stewart-Haas Racing team during Saturday’s Sprint Cup action.

While Harvick’s verbal lashings may not necessarily be the method some would employ to handle the situation, it’s easy to see why the driver has such a short fuse.

During the Sprint Cup event in Kentucky, only three drivers led that race over the entire course of its 400 mile distance. And for the most part, the lead changes that did occur took place during pit stop exchanges or immediately after restarts when cars were bunched together. A nearly identical scenario played out during the Nationwide race on the facility often referred to as ‘The Roughest Track in NASCAR’.

With aerodynamics and down force so important in today’s NASCAR, passing is limited because ‘clean air’ is so essential. Obviously, the lead car is the only one truly out in clean air until lapped traffic becomes a factor. And with the frequency of debris cautions and other types of yellow flags, lapped traffic can’t always be counted on to disturb the leader’s air. So getting to the lead is a critical factor. And with passing out on the track at such a premium, bypassing cars on pit road is the best way to make up spots. Conversely, losing spots on pit road can make for a long day spent mired in the middle of the pack.

Harvick is far from being the only driver to chew out his pit crew for slow pit stops. His outbursts just get played on television because they tend to be among the most colorful and predictable. Using the Trackpass feature on NASCAR.com allows me to listen to all drivers during each race. Virtually every driver snaps at his/her crew when hard earned positions are given away on pit road. Conversely, virtually all drivers, including Harvick, are quick to praise their crews when they gain positions with their quick work.

The bottom line is that pit road is the place where races are won and lost in today’s NASCAR. That has always been true to some degree when it came to plotting strategy, but now it’s just as true in terms of passing cars. Getting to the lead on pit road often results in keeping the lead on the track while losing the lead on pit road often results in riding around in the wake of dirty air for long periods of time.

The cars are so equal and so aero-dependent on the track that they don’t pass each other very often. It’s easy to see why Kevin Harvick or any other driver would get frustrated with the crew when precious places are lost due to mistakes.

Topics: Articles |

11 Responses to “Kevin Harvick is justified in getting upset with his pit crew”

  1. Offkilter Says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I thought this would be an article about how Harvick could have won 4 or 5 races by now and totally dominated if not for a weak link in the chain. Possibly even an inside look at how shr was trying to improve the 4 team pit crew to become the most dangerous team since the 48. Turns out to be just another article in a long running series of articles hacking on nascar.
    Oh well. Kudos to you, Richard for devoting time and energy for what you believe in. I mean that in a good way.

  2. anne Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Rich, bless you for turning a blind eye to bad behavior, hopefully in your personal life you treat those instances a little differently. Kevin Harvick is not a child and this has been a theme of his since he came on the Nascar circuit. A PR person looking for a edge in making a “brand” out of Kevin surely looked at that as a “positive”. From all the “tweets” and social media from Kevin, Delana and Keelan(poor child), they seem not to mind. I however look at his behavior as horrible (always have). I cannot understand how his name is “Happy”, nobody should treat anybody that way. Why he has sponsors should be a mystery, but alas talent DESPITE bad behavior in this world is rewarded. Kevin is a very unlikeable person, I would like nothing more for his crew to leave him without tires on a pit stop and walk away, maybe then he will get the message. We all are in situations when others fail us, it’s the mark of one’s character how you react. And no I am not saying to have Kevin take his crew out for a beer after, he has a right to be upset, but he needs to grow up. If anything..the amount of exposure they allow Keelan on Tv’ etc. Kevin’s words and actions on the racetrack can will have a effect on his son.

  3. Travis Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Totally justified, he’s at work and the pit crew is choosing him money. This isn’t Sunday school.

  4. Mike Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Jeez, Anne, get over yourself. Who made you arbiter of good drivers, people, friends and parents? If the crew does a 4 tire change stop in more than 14 seconds these days, they have not done their job. Period. You probably think they should all get ribbons and juice boxes after every stop.

  5. william floyd Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Speaking of pit crews, I have not seen one comment or article on Dale Jr. gaining 9 spots on pit road during one stop, and it was a 4 tire change at that. If the graphs on tv and the pit reporters were right about the 4 tire change, then no way does Jr gain 9 positions without speeding on pit road, just no way period. He got his track position he needed on that one stop, otherwise he would have finished mid teens. I agree with Annee on Harvick’s trashing his pit crew, Kurt Busch does the same. Those guys should bide their time and sometime in the chase when it matters the very most, lay down on the job for a crucial pit stop, let the whining begin then when the reality of what happened sinks it, and they realize why it happened.

  6. Sid Williams Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Anne……your comments are absolute drivel. You are obviously not a Harvick fan or you would be outraged at his pit crew performance this year. These guys are not weekend volunteers. They are professional pit crew members. They get paid serious money to perform at the top of their game.These are not isolated incidents. They are happening at almost every event. They have already cost Kevin several races this year. If I don’t do my job at work I will either be chastised or replaced. The same should hold true here.

  7. Michael Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Thanks for the article. I can always tell people like Anne, who has never raced nor set in a car but has it all figured out for you. People makes mistakes daily, we all do, but are you not supposed to be upset about it? I am so glad some people like her have it figured out, and please tell him and all of us how we should react and how we should raise out kids, since she has it all figured out. Oh yeah I guess I should grow up too, and not voice my opinion now should I.?

  8. Wayne Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 11:45 am

    For those supporting Harvick ask one simple question, How is that humiliating his crew on Nat’l TV working out for him? Things in the pits are actually getting worse. At the start of the season Chase Elliotts crew was even worse than Harvicks, but his very mature handling of it seems to be working better as his crew is getting better. Harvicks crew is getting worse. As Ricky Craven has said, most drivers have these verbal tirades in the car, but the smart,mature ones do so and CHOOSE not to press the talk button.

  9. Russ Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Its a lot harder to see the mistakes drivers make. Of course if you wreck it, people may ask questions, but any mistake short of that will probably go unnoticed.
    Maybe there’s a reason why he hasn’t been a consistent winner.

  10. anne Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Get over yourselves, I stand by my comments. Negative behavior in a public area does not make one want to do better, it does not motivate, it only makes you look like an ass. There is no reason for it. Bad behavior should not get a pass. Maybe you people act the same way. Add what difference does it make what profession it is, acting like a jerk is acting like a jerk.

  11. Tony Geinzer Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I think Rule 1 of Future Owners: BE A BOSS. If it weren’t the 2000s when Harvick started his career, he wouldn’t have been thrown as many passes.

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