NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick did not mince words when speaking about the muddy track at the Bristol Food City Dirt Race. Though he eventually conceded that the race track was “fine,” Harvick expressed frustration at the track’s preparation, and at NASCAR’s decision to race on dirt altogether.
“The first thing I can tell you is we did a terrible job prepping the track and full of mud and there was nobody here to pack the track; so we all look like a bunch of bozos coming in to pit because we don’t know how to prep the track,” said Harvick. The driver of the No. 4 Ford Mustang has said before that he does not like this event run on dirt at Bristol.
The drama began for Harvick when Cole Custer and Aric Almirola pitted in the opening laps. Mud clogged their grilles and created overheating engine conditions, so NASCAR waved a caution for the whole field to pit. Most teams used the extra caution to clean the grille and windshield on their cars.
Harvick contended he should have gotten the free pass but that was awarded to Almirola. Harvick sounded incensed on the radio at the decision. He then refused to go back to the tail end of the field until NASCAR repeatedly ordered him to do so.
“And then we don’t get the lucky dog for whatever reason with two cars on pit road, and then we got run over. I don’t know who ran us over at the end,” Harvick continued to reporters.
The NASCAR media then asked Harvick how he felt after he got his lap back at Bristol
“I had a great car,” he said. “The racetrack was fine. They just did a terrible job to start with. They’ve done this before, but, obviously, it doesn’t look like it.”
Harvick’s night eventually ended early after a crash at Lap 98 saw Noah Gragson climb over the back of the No. 4 Ford. The crash heavily damaged Harvick’s car and knocked him out of the race.
And as for another round of dirt track racing next season at Bristol? Harvick did not sound enthusiastic.
“What’s the point, really?” he asked rhetorically. “I guess the TV ratings will tell [if it’s something the fans appreciate enough to keep]. If the TV ratings are high, it’ll be great.”
NASCAR villain Kyle Busch eventually captured the checkered flag after a long, wet race that ended with Busch “backing into” the win.
After the win — his ninth at Bristol — Busch was booed by the smattering of fans who waited out two rain delays. The first Easter Sunday race since 1989 lasted nearly four hours from flag to flag.
“I mean, man, I feel like Dale Earnhardt Sr. right now. This is awesome. I didn’t do anything,” Busch said with a smile afterward. Fans booed Earnhardt in 1999 for bumping Terry Labonte out of the way for a similar win.