Kevin Harvick will be able to walk away from the year with two victories in the Chase, at least.
And that’s not bad for anybody.
But it won’t be the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about his 2013 season.
It will be the “spoiled brats” weekend in Martinsville.
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Three weeks ago, after contact with Austin Dillon’s car in the Nationwide race, Harvick said the Dillon boys, Austin and Ty, the grandsons of team owner Richard Childress, were the reason he was leaving RCR.
He shouldn’t have said that. It clouded a professional approach he and Childress had taken to Harvick’s lame-duck season, knowing he was headed to Stewart-Haas Racing for 2014.
But in a credit to Harvick, and to RCR, it did not affect performance.
Harvick won his second Chase race on Sunday, moving up to third in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings with the victory at Phoenix. He and Matt Kenseth are the only drivers capable of catching Jimmie Johnson for the championship.
“You know, I obviously handle a lot of situations wrong, but it pushes a lot of buttons to try to make things better,” Harvick said. “There’s no better way to go out than to do what we’ve done this year.”
Harvick is not one to express a lot of public regret, but he has been straight-shooting in this case from the start.
“Obviously, we went to Martinsville, and I said things that I shouldn’t have said and put everybody in a position that was not good, but I think we had conversations about things after that that probably made us closer as people and, I think, as we move forward will probably make us closer as friends,” he said.
Childress accepted Harvick’s apology and kept his season-long promise to give him the best resources to win.
“We committed to each other early in the year that we’d give 100 percent, and we have, and Kevin has,” Childress said. “Just like we talked, we’ve had a great relationship, and when this race is over, I haven’t got a driver out there that’s driven for me or crew chief or anyone I can’t walk up and talk to, and that’s the way we want this to be.”
For Childress, the race community is a family. Harvick is still in it.
“You spend a lot of time with each other at the track, so you’re going to have your spats and stuff, and just got to make it work,” he said.
Give them credit. Harvick and Childress both made it work.