Drivers say punishment was fitting for Harvick

Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2002

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- The way NASCAR handled Kevin Harvick last week at Mar tinsville, Va., got the attention of everyone, including Harvick.

Drivers rallied around the sanctioning body after it ''parked'' the temperamental Harvick for the Virginia 500 after his on-track rant during Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Many said Harvick's actions were further proof that he lacked respect for the sport and other competitors.

''It's a privilege to be in Winston Cup,'' said Ward Bur ton. ''When you don't respect that, something has to be done. NASCAR had to do something.''

Harvick wrecked Coy Gibbs during the race in retaliation of a spin earlier in the race.

Three weeks earlier, he got into a fight with Greg Biffle on pit road after the race at Bristol, Tenn.

NASCAR fined Harvick and placed him on probation after the Biffle fight, and he crossed the line again in the run-in with Gibbs.

Harvick then was banned from participating in the Win ston Cup race the next day.

''I think it was a good deal,'' said Bobby Hamilton, who last September was knocked out of the lead at Martinsville by Harvick's lapped car.

NASCAR could have suspended Harvick for this week's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Super speedway, but it levied a record $35,000 fine for rough driving and extended his probation until Dec. 31.

Along with the sanctions came a warning that any other problems would lead to immediate and indefinite suspension.

''I haven't been racing since I was 5 years old and made it this far in my career to throw it all away now,'' Harvick said in a statement released Tuesday. ''Hav ing to miss the race in Martinsville definitely got my attention."

MORE FINES AND PROBATION: Harvick wasn't the only person in the sport who suffered NASCAR's wrath.

Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for Kurt Busch's Winston Cup team, was fined $1,000 for using an illegal trunk lid at Martinsville.

Charley Pressley, crew chief for Hamilton, was fined $500 for attached a weight in an unapproved area inside the car.

NASCAR Busch Series driver Ashton Lewis was fined $2,500 and placed on probation until June 12 for rough driving during Saturday's Pepsi 300 at Nash ville (Tenn.).

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