NASCAR will not issue any penalties to driver Kevin Harvick after a last lap crash at Talladega Sunday. NASCAR issued a statement Tuesday morning saying they had reviewed an “extensive” amount of data from Sunday’s race and that based on their review, Sunday’s results are considered official.
The incident occurred late in Sunday’s 500 mile race, but was actually set up the week prior. Last week, prior to the race NASCAR ruled that there would only be one attempt at a green-white-checkered flag finish at Talladega instead of the traditional three.
Sunday, Jamie McMurray lost an engine with five laps to go setting up what should have been the one and only attempt at a green-white-checkered flag finish. On the first attempt, Jimmie Johnson was spun behind the leaders and NASCAR threw a caution prior to the field crossing the start-finish line. NASCAR officials then ruled that there would be another attempt.
On the second attempt, Joey Logano held a slight lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr. as they crossed the line but another crash occurred behind them and NASCAR was forced to throw the caution again. The second crash was caused when Kevin Harvick, who had already reported troubles with his engine that slowed him down dramatically compared to the rest of the field, appeared to veer right and up into the car of Trevor Bayne. Bayne was forced into the wall, back down across the track and multi-car crash ensued.
After a few minutes to review the results, NASCAR ruled that the field had crossed the start-finish line this time, and that Logano was the winner and Earnhardt was second, eliminating him from the next round of the Chase. Harvick finished 15th despite his sour engine and was able to advance into the next round of the Chase. In the aftermath Sunday, many drivers were questioning Harvick’s move. Chief among them were drivers Matt Kenseth, who finished 26th and Denny Hamlin, who finished 37th. Both were caught up in the final crash and eliminated from the Chase.
“He pulled out of the way the first time because he knew he was blowing up and this time he said he was going to hold his lane, so we went up to go round him and then he clipped the 6 (Bayne),” said Kenseth. “He knew if he put him in a slow spin the race was over and he’d make it, so, like I said, it feels we lost control here the last two weeks. I don’t think that’s what racing is about. The spot they put us in, it’s hard to blame people, but that’s not what racing’s about.”
“4 (Harvick) could only run about 30 miles per hour,” said Hamlin. “So I think he saw people coming and he knew he was going to be 30th, last car on the lead lap so cause the wreck.”
Harvick defended his actions. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver is the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.
“It wasn’t running really well on the restarts. Then at the end I was trying to get out of the way,” Harvick said. “I don’t know if I clipped the 6 (Bayne) or if he came across as I was coming up. It was one of those days where everything went well until the very end until the bottom fell out on those lap couple of restarts when it cooled off. It has a broken exhaust pipe or something.”
In its statement NASCAR said they had reviewed material including video, team radio transmissions and downloadable data. “Based on that review,” the statement said “The race results are considered official as we prepare for the upcoming 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Eliminator Round starting Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.’
“NASCAR has completed review of any other potential penalties from the track this past weekend,” they added. “And there will be no further actions.”
Kevin Harvick defends his actions at Talladega>>>