Well, it's obvious that Kevin Harvick and his team haven't forgotten about Jeff Gordon's comments following Richmond.
Two weeks ago, Harvick won at Richmond after beating Gordon on a late-race restart that came about after Paul Menard, Harvick's teammate, spun to bring out a caution. After the race, Gordon wondered if Menard's caution was intentional. (NASCAR later deemed Menard's radio chatter to be inconclusive and Menard and RCR denied the spin was intentional.)
On Sunday at New Hampshire, the No. 29 team was wondering the same thing about Landon Cassill's Lap 156 wall-smack. Cassill's crash came during a cycle of green-flag pit stops while Gordon was in first, leading to insinuations from Gil Martin, Harvick's crew chief, that Cassill crashed on purpose to benefit Gordon.
Cassill drives for James Finch, who receives cars and support from Hendrick Motorsports, the team Gordon drives for.
At the time, Harvick was in fifth, the first car a lap down, so he was able to get back on the lead lap via the Lucky Dog.
In response to Gordon's accusations about Menard at Richmond, Harvick talked about the timing of Cassill's spin there, which led to Dale Earnhardt Jr. getting back on the lead lap, and the timing of Jimmie Johnson's punt of Kurt Busch, which also happened when Junior was in position for the Lucky Dog. (After Richmond, Cassill denied that spin was intentional and designed to benefit Junior.)
Short of straight up admitting it, it's going to continue to be impossible know for sure if a driver is intending to bring out a caution to help a teammate or friend. So the cycle of accusations is probably going to continue if teammates continue to benefit from other (non-contending) teammates' misfortune.
Unless we all get access to that secret Channel 2.
- Kevin Harvick
- Jeff Gordon
- Landon Cassill
- Paul Menard