After contact on the final lap of the Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick would make hard contact with the inside retaining wall. Well most walls are safer barriers now, Harvick hit a portion of the wall that did not have a safer barrier. Since then, Harvick has been lobbying for Daytona to install more safer barriers as he was sore all week due to the contact.
“The tracks, for the most part, don’t listen to really anything unless it’s profitable for their shareholders,” Harvick said. “So, when you see somebody spending $400 million dollars on their track and they don’t have soft walls around the inside, maybe they could spend $403 million to go ahead and finish the inside of the superspeedway there at Daytona.”
Harvick said he made heavy contact with the wall after the throttle hung due to the initial contact with the outside wall.
“It was a hard shot. It’s a little bit frustrating because it really shouldn’t even be a debate,” Harvick said. “I know they have data that shows where the most frequently hit spots are but we wear all this safety equipment and do all the things that we do to these race tracks for that one freak incident to keep things from happening like happened back in 2001. So, it’s shouldn’t even be a debate. It’s just one of those things I guess that you just wait around for something else to happen and then they’ll fix it.”
Heading into Phoenix this weekend, Harvick is ready to put that incident in the rearview mirror and have a solid run at a track that he has won at before. This weekend, though, brings new circumstances as Harvick heads to Phoenix with Stewart-Haas Racing for the first time and NASCAR has made a ‘no ride-height’ rule. Harvick says from experience in testing so far, he feels that the cars will have more grip and speed.
“It’s a whole different thought process than it was last year,” Harvick commented. “And as we found out last week in the Unlimited, the main thing that you have to pay attention to is being able to get the tires off the car on a pit stop. So, we had to adjust for that during Speedweeks a little bit last week. And so, I know they’ve worked hard on it but things happen a lot more aggressively coming into the pit stall and everything is hot and so you’ve just got to make sure that’s right.”
Teams will get four extra hours of practice at Las Vegas next week in anticipation for the rule change, which Harvick says is important as the team has a lot of things that they’d like to sort through during that time before race weekend.
“I think there are just so many new things and the way that you look at things and the way you go about things and the springs and things that you run underneath the car are so drastically different than what you ran last year, that we’re looking for that baseline to be able to understand exactly what we need and where to work from,” Harvick added. “In that same sense, things will evolve really fast because things are quite a bit different. So, you’ll have something that will evolve into something new by the time you get to the next week.”