Kevin Harvick on OT rule: ‘I’m not a fan of changing things in the middle of the year’


Kevin Harvick, whose incident at Talladega in 2015 preceded NASCAR adopting the overtime line, says the sanctioning body should keep the overtime line as it is the rest of the year.

“It’s been a constant evolution of processes throughout the years, whether this is a moment that changes it, I’m not a fan of changing things in the middle of the year,’’ Harvick said. “I think everything is open for discussion. I think this rule was created with the superspeedway races and the wrecks and everything that was happening there.’’

The rule has gained attention since last weekend’s race at Dover finished under caution. Jimmie Johnson won because he crossed the overtime line before the final caution came out.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Periscope that NASCAR should change the overtime rule.

“I kind of helped come up with that idea, so this is going to be kind of strange, but I think they should get rid of the overtime line at all the racetracks except for Daytona and Talladega,” Earnhardt said.

“I think we should race it out everywhere. And no overtime line, just keep on doing green-white-checkereds until you get it right everywhere. And then at Daytona and Talladega, you probably can do something different.”

Earnhardt’s flip is a lesson for the sport, Harvick suggested.

“I think that really speaks volumes about just as competitors where everybody sits as far as one time you want this and one time you want that,’’ Harvick said. “I think that’s a good reason to keep the competitors out of making rules and things like that.

“It’s hard to be wishy-washy and create something that is consistently good. It definitely shows you how circumstances can change the opinions of really all of us.’’

The issue of trying to finish races under green has been prevalent in the sport for about 20 years.

NASCAR instituted a green-white-checkered rule a few months after fans tossed beer cans at Jeff Gordon when NASCAR ruled he was leading — instead of Earnhardt — when the final caution came out at Talladega in April 2004.

NASCAR increased it to three green-white-checkered attempts before the 2010 Daytona 500.

In October 2015 at Talladega, Johnson spun as the field headed for its lone attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR ruled that because the field had not taken the green and passed the start/finish line, it did not count as the one attempt.

When the green came out, Harvick, who had an ailing car, and Trevor Bayne made contact that triggered an 11-car crash and the race ended under caution. Harvick managed to make it around and advanced to the third round.

NASCAR followed that by creating the overtime line in 2016. The rule states that if the leader crosses the line before the caution comes out after the final restart, the race will end under caution. If the caution waves before the leader crosses the line, another attempt will be made.

“We make changes because we’re told it’s what the fans want for all the way we can monitor those things,’’ Johnson said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “You sit around and all of a sudden everybody starts questioning that again.

“The overtime line was designed to help create a safe environment and give us a point to race to. The way it’s all written and designed, the fans got the best opportunity, I think, that could have come.’’

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NASCAR America: Steve Letarte: Denny Hamlin showing ‘remarkable consistency’

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Things have been going relatively well for Denny Hamlin on the track in 2018.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver enters this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway sixth in points. Through five races, he’s finished outside the top six once (17th, Las Vegas).

NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan discussed his season so far in addition to Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.

Letarte said Hamlin has displayed “remarkable consistency.”

“Denny Hamlin is in my mind a super star driver that I know I am guilty of leaving him out of super star conversations,” Letarte said.

Ryan pointed to mistakes on pit road that have prevented Hamlin from enjoying more success this season and in his career overall. His result at Las Vegas was the result of a speeding penalty.

“Five races this season, four pit mistakes,” Ryan said. “He overshot his box at Daytona, he did that at Fontana, he sped in the pits at Phoenix. While I think they’ve had speed, I think that team is still stumbling in the same ways it has in the past. Unless they correct that, I don’t know if they’re championship level yet.”

Hamlin heads to Martinsville where he has won a career-best five races.

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Trevor Bayne on Charlotte Roval: ‘You have to be on your game’

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Rain washed out the second day of Goodyear tire testing Wednesday on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval. Goodyear has tentatively scheduled May 1 as a make-up test date.

Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson took part in the test Tuesday.

“I just took some slow pace laps and got a feel for the race track,” Bayne said in a statement from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I was nervous, but I wasn’t anxious because I was never going to go out there and make qualifying laps. We worked our pace in and our plan, we stuck to it. I felt really good by the end of the day.

“You have to be on your game, that’s for sure. You can’t really let your guard down anywhere. There’s no room to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it pretty quickly. If you try to do something and it doesn’t work, you’ll pay the price. It’s going to be a survival race. … If you’re smart, you take care of your car and you don’t make mistakes, you’ll have a really good shot at the end for a good finish. I enjoyed it. It was a challenge for me – something new – and I enjoyed that part of it.”

Organizational tests at Charlotte will be in July. There will be two different sessions. Each team is allowed to test at one of the two sessions, which will be July 10 (rain date of July 11) and July 17 (rain date of July 18).

The Charlotte Roval hosts the final race of the first round of the Cup playoffs on Sept. 30 on NBC.

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NASCAR issues two fines for unsecured lug nuts at Auto Club Speedway

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NASCAR announced two crew chief fines for unsecured lug nuts last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Adam Stevens, crew chief on Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

In the Xfinity Series, Eric Phillips, the crew chief for Ryan Preece‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

No other penalties were announced.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Drivers to watch, favorite sports upsets

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and begins to look forward to this weekend’s racing at Martinsville Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Dale Jarrett, Steve Letarte and Nate Ryan from the “Big Oak Table” in Charlotte.

What to expect from today’s show.

  • The same names have been dominating the headlines in the first five races in the 2018 season. We will take a look at some of the other drivers to be on the lookout for as the season rolls on.
  • One of NASCAR’s most historic tracks is up this weekend – Martinsville! We’ll check out some of the recent drama “The Paperclip” has provided ahead of the race.
  • In the spirit of March Madness, our panel will tell us about their most memorable sports moments, as well as some of NASCAR’s biggest upsets.
  • Plus, The Indianapolis 500 will have a new home in 2019. We’ll have all the details on NASCAR America.

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.