The race was on a green-white-checker attempt when Harvick and Bayne made contact. Harvick's car had started having issues and he said it would not accelerate. He pulled out of line to the outside and Bayne moved to Harvick's outside to pass him. As Bayne moved ahead of Harvick, the two made contact and Bayne's car went spinning.
Multiple drivers had accused Harvick of spinning Bayne intentionally.
"Obviously some of the teams have questioned what the 4 car did on the restarts and we went back and walked through with them but procedurally, from NASCAR, we don't see anything there that is suspect, so far," Helton said.
Helton said NASCAR had reviewed video from the incident.
"We haven't seen anything," Helton said. "Only thing I mean about so far is that I've been around long enough to know that something could crawl out of the woodwork over the next 24 hours."
He also said NASCAR would not be opposed to doing something about the Chase if it deemed there were shenanigans. Harvick advanced to the next round of the Chase while Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman did not.
"We historically have been," Helton said.
Here's a GIF of Harvick's in-car camera synced up with his roof camera.
"I don't know if I clipped the No. 6 or if he came across as I was coming up," Harvick said. "Just one of those days where everything went wrong until the very end. When the bottom fell out those last couple of restarts when it cooled off. It has a broken exhaust pipe or something."
Bayne was one of the drivers that contended Harvick crashed him on purpose. So did Hamlin, who was visibly frustrated after the race.
What a joke we have a car with no motor wreck the field to end the race. Complete crap. Sorry to anyone who spent $ coming to this circus— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) October 25, 2015
Bayne: That’s a crappy way 4 Harvick to have to get in the Chase is to wreck somebody – what I believe to be on purpose – maybe it wasn’t.— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) October 25, 2015
Did Harvick spin Bayne intentionally? We may never know; the shot of his in-car camera isn't an absolution. But here's the thing. It was in Harvick's best interest to crash Bayne. Can you really fault him for doing what he had to do to move on in the Chase? And if you dismiss Bayne's complaint that Harvick did it on purpose, you must also immediately dismiss Matt Kenseth's complaint against Joey Logano from Kansas.
Is crashing a driver intentionally the most ethical thing to do? Hell no. But NASCAR set a precedent in last year's Chase when Ryan Newman knocked Kyle Larson out of the way at Phoenix to make the final round of the Chase. The sanctioning body did nothing about Newman's incredibly blatant – and admittedly purposeful – move. Why would it do something about Harvick's?
With the limit of one green-white-checker finish in place at Talladega on Sunday, Harvick knew that if he caused a crash, the race would be over. And a crash was his best chance for making it to the next round. With a car incapable of accelerating, he was going to fall like a rock behind the pack. With every position equaling a lost point, a clean restart spelled the end of the 2014 champion's Chase fortunes.
NASCAR likes to tout how it's elimination Chase fomat is survive-and-advance. Well, that's exactly what Kevin Harvick did at Talladega. How many of you would have done whatever it took to keep your championship hopes alive?
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