MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- One day after the fender-bashing duel, the pointed comments about his team owner's grandchildren and his stormy exit from the race track, Kevin Harvick had a fairly normal day at Martinsville Speedway and a solid sixth-place effort to show for it.
It was certainly no Sunday drive of leisure, as his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet left with plenty of battle scars on the front end after 500 laps around the .526-mile track.
"It was interesting," said Harvick, who slipped one spot to fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings but lost just two points to co-leaders Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. "We fought all day, got the nose banged up there and had a little leak in the radiator, so kind of nerve-wracking there. (The crew) did a good job of adjusting the car to the little bang-up here. We came away for a solid day."
What a difference a day makes. In Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event here, Harvick -- making a truck appearance for NTS Motorsports -- battered Ty Dillon's RCR-owned truck under caution in retaliation for a late-race altercation. He then assailed Dillon and his brother, Austin -- Childress' grandchildren -- as "punk-ass kids" without "respect for what they do in the sport."
Childress was visibly irate after Saturday's race, but insisted that the two would move on in an effort to finish out the Sprint Cup season strong before Harvick moves to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. In Sunday's Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500, they did.
Harvick started 10th, but failed to make much progress in the early going, prompting him to radio to his crew: "It's not running at full song." The issue dissipated, but cropped up later as his car's front end suffered more damage, a good chunk of it coming in a Lap 319 tangle that sent Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevy into the outside wall, forcing the 12th of the race's 17 caution periods.
Harvick apologized in his post-race comments, saying he tried to force his car into a rapidly closing gap and clipped Newman's car. The contact, and the further rigors of digging and gouging for position at one of NASCAR's tightest tracks, left Harvick's damaged car with a water leak that had him keeping one eye on the traffic and one eye on his gauges.
"It's all beat up," Harvick said. "Leaking water so we didn't have any water pressure there for about 150 laps. That was a little bit nerve-wracking. So luckily it was a small hole. We battled all day and had a decent car. They adjusted for the damage and had the car really good there at the end, and we live to fight another day."
Considering Saturday's explosive finish, perhaps words other than "fight another day" would have been better suited for Sunday's relatively calmer race. But it also speaks to Harvick's still-intact candidacy for his first Sprint Cup title, now just 28 points out of the lead.
"Good tracks in three weeks," Harvick said. "We just have to do what we have to do."
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