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Kevin Harvick makes some points -- heatedly -- with title rival Denny Hamlin, over the Clint Bowyer controversy.

Denny Hamlin (L) and Kevin Harvick go face to face after Saturday bumping (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR) 


  By Mike Mulhern


  DOVER, Del.

   NASCAR officials had to break up an angry face-to-face between Sprint Cup title challengers Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick after a Saturday afternoon dust-up between the two, in final practice for Sunday's Dover 400.
   Harvick, on the track, bumped and brushed Hamlin a couple of times, apparently taking offense at Hamlin's complaints Friday about Harvick's teammate Clint Bowyer.
   Bowyer beat Hamlin to win last weekend's New Hampshire 300, but Wednesday afternoon NASCAR inspectors said they had found Bowyer's car did not meet all their body specs. The win still stands, but NASCAR has fined Bowyer 150 points – enough to kill any title hopes he might have had after opening the title playoffs with a win. Richard Childress, who owns the Harvick and Bowyer cars, has appealed that penalty, and the entire Childress operation has been upset and angry the entire New Hampshire flap.
   Hamlin was pre-season favorite to win the championship; Harvick dominated the 26-race regular season. So, especially in light of the problems defending tour champ Jimmie Johnson has had this season, a Hamlin-vs-Harvick championship duel is highly likely.
   After the bumping, apparently initiated by Harvick, Hamlin and Harvick confronted each other in the NASCAR garage. The two teams, ironically, are parked next to each other in the jammed garage.
   NASCAR finally sent some officials down to that part of the garage to intercede.
   Harvick and Hamlin had little to say afterwards. But Childress, already highly charged over Bowyer situation, fired hard at Hamlin: "You can't win a pissing match with a skunk. You don't throw a rock if you live in a glass house."

   A NASCAR official firmly planted between the warring camps of Denny Hamlin (L) and Kevin Harvick (R) (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Hamlin himself, after cooling down, said it was just championship 'head games.'
   "They've been in the sport a long time, and they know how to play these games and try to get into somebody's head," Hamlin said.
   "I think there were a lot of frustrated team members...
   "Of course it's unnecessary because it didn't help either one of the teams.
   "He got into me on pit road before we even left, so I knew we were going to have to deal with some issues.
   "I spoke my mind (Friday) and said a lot of truth -- and sometimes that's not popular with the teams involved.
   "That's something I've always done -- speak my mind.
   "It's not always in my best interests to do that, but when someone asks me a question I'm always going to give my 100 percent honest answer."

Every one of these flareups

Every one of these flareups make Hamlin look more of a punk than his teammate Busch which is quite a feat in itself. He should spend most of his time worrying about Denny and less trying to sound like the old racing sage of stock car racing commenting about his competitors. I guess some guys need to be in a "spats" to get the juices flowing maybe he thinks people will think more of him than they would do ordinarily. Time for Coach Gibbs to have another hauler intervention with yet another of his drivers about showing maturity under pressure. This doesn't get Harvick off the hook either he's had his less than adult moments as well behind the wheel jeez to remember the good old days when drivers took care of things on the track like men and not in front of media hoards like school girls who just lost a softball tournament.

i'm watching the Dover

i'm watching the Dover pre-race with all those Iraq-Afghanistan war veterans being introduced...and thinking maybe NASCAR should require all future Cup drivers to spend at least two years in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines before getting a Cup license. that would force them to mature....

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