Kevin Harvick criticizes tracks for inaction on SAFER: ‘Unfortunately, I was just a dot on the chart’


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Defending Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick took NASCAR racetrack owners to task before Sunday’s Daytona 500 for being slow to erect SAFER barriers around their layouts.

Harvick said he hit an unprotected concrete wall last year at Daytona International Speedway that was near the spot where Kyle Busch crashed in Saturday’s Xfinity Series season opener, suffering a compound fracture in his lower right leg.

“I kind of voiced my opinion, and unfortunately, I was just a dot on the chart, and there was no reaction,” Harvick said in the media center during a previously scheduled appearance arranged by NASCAR. “Now there’s a reaction from the racetrack. Hopefully, this is a lesson learned. You don’t want to have a reaction. The racetracks have to be proactive and have to look ahead for accidents that might happen.

“There’s been great improvement. We know what fixes these walls. That’s to put a wall in front of them. Yesterday, that’s why we hear a helmet and a HANS and a firesuit and have fire bottles – for that one moment that you have to protect yourself against. (In) 98 percent or 99 percent of the time, things are going to be fine. So help us by trying to prevent that one situation. Instead of being proactive, the track was reactive.”

Busch is out indefinitely and will be replaced in Sunday’s season opener by Matt Crafton. On Saturday night, Daytona president Joie Chitwood took the blame for the track not having SAFER barriers in place, though he didn’t specify the reason why. The track is putting up tires in front of the inside wall in Turn 1 where Busch’s impact was Saturday.

Daytona is in the midst of a $400 million renovation of its frontstretch grandstands, and Harvick was critical last year that the track hadn’t spent an extra few million on putting up SAFER barriers around the 2.5-mile oval.

Harvick, a longtime rival of Busch (they had a memorable feud four years ago after a post-race incident at Darlington Raceway), said drivers “might not be best friends, but you never want to see people hurt.”

“You feel bad for the sport in general,” he said. “The fans. Kyle himself more than anything. Kyle is a big part of this sport. He carries a lot of weight and has a lot of fans and is a big part of the show.

“He’s not in the race today. That’s a big hit for everyone in this race today. It’s unfortunate. I hope we all take something from this and learn just as we did. Fortunately, it’s not a situation of the magnitude of (Dale) Earnhardt’s, but it’s still a wake-up call in my opinion to make sure we do things right.”

Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 propelled NASCAR toward major safety upgrades that included the mandatory use of HANS devices and the development of SAFER barriers a few years later.

Harvick credited NASCAR with taking “bold steps” to make “continuous advancement of the safety in the cars” and said he wasn’t any more skittish about racing Sunday at Daytona.

“This sport is still tremendous amounts safer than it was 15 years ago or 12 years ago,” Harvick said. “This is a very safe sport, and unfortunately, we had that one situation where all the stars lined up, and things happened. We’re going to tear up some race cars just because this is how you race here. Nine times of 10, the cars aren’t making the mistakes. It’s the drivers. You’re going to have to be aggressive. I don’t see that changing.

“With what’s on the line to win the Daytona 500, everyone is going to have to push and shove and do what they have to do to put themselves in position to win.”

Xfinity Series playoff standings entering first round

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The Xfinity Series playoffs begin this weekend with a 12-driver field set to compete for the championship.

The playoffs start Saturday night with a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric start the postseason tied after they each earned 50 playoff points during the regular season.

More: Las Vegas entry lists

The last four drivers in the standings are Ryan Sieg (2,002 points), Michael Annett (2,002), Riley Herbst (2,001) and Brandon Brown (2,000).

Here are the full playoff standings entering the Round of 12.


Cup playoff standings entering Round of 12

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The Round of 12 in the Cup playoffs has arrived following Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Eliminated from contention were Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Blaney, Cole Custer and William Byron.

The second round begins Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

More: Entry lists for Las Vegas

Kurt Busch begins the round last in the standings with 3,0001 points.

Here is the full playoff standings entering the Round of 12.

Drivers in yellow are those who will compete in the Round of 12. Drivers in red were eliminated at the end of the first round.

Cup playoff standings


NASCAR entry lists for Las Vegas

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The Round of 12 begins this weekend for the Cup Series and NASCAR’s entry lists for Las Vegas Motor Speedway are out.

All three national series will compete at the 1.5-mile track as the Xfinity Series begins its playoffs and the Truck Series holds its second playoff race.

More: Bristol winners and losers

Here are the preliminary entry lists for Las Vegas:

Cup – South Point 400 (7 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered for the first race of the Round of 12.

Joey Logano won at Las Vegas in the spring over Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. This race was won last season by Martin Truex Jr. over Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.

Click here for the Cup entry list.


Xfinity – Alsco 300 (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-four cars are entered in the Xfinity playoff opener.

Daniel Hemric is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Austin Hill is entered in Hattori Racing Enterprises’ No. 61 Toyota.

Chase Briscoe won at Las Vegas in February over Austin Cindric and Ryan Sieg. This race was won last year by Tyler Reddick over Christopher Bell and Brandon Jones.

Click here for the Xfinity entry list.


Trucks – World of Westgate 200 (9 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Thirty-six trucks are entered.

Ryan Truex is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Chevrolet.

IndyCar driver Conor Daly will make his Truck Series debut in Niece Motorsports’ No. 42 Chevrolet.

Travis Pastrana is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 45 Chevrolet for his second start of the season.

Kyle Busch won at Las Vegas in February over Johnny Sauter and Austin Hill. Austin Hill won this race last year over Ross Chastain and Christian Eckes.

Click here for the Truck entry list

NASCAR 2020 schedule: Times, TV channels, stream info and tracks for Cup series

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The second round of the NASCAR 2020 Cup series playoffs will begin on Sunday, September 27 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

William ByronCole CusterMatt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney saw their championship hopes end last Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway where Kevin Harvick stole the show with his ninth win of the season. Harvick’s victory at Bristol marked a career-best milestone as his previous best was eight wins back in 2018.

Click here to see the NASCAR entry lists for Las Vegas 

    RELATED: Bristol Cup results, driver points report

NASCAR 2020 Schedule Playoffs – Round of 12

Sept. 27 – South Point 400

Time: 7 p.m.
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Oct. 4 – YellaWood 500

Time: 2 p.m.
Track: Talladega Superspeedway

Oct. 11 – Bank of America Roval 400

Time: 2:30 p.m.
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL

Playoffs – Round of 8

Oct. 18 – Hollywood Casino 400

Time: 2:30 p.m.
Track: Kansas Speedway, 2:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 – Texas 500

Time: 3 p.m.
Track: Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 1 – Xfinity 500

Time: 2 p.m.
Track: Martinsville Speedway

Championship – Round of 4

Nov. 8 – NASCAR Cup Series Championship

Time: 3 p.m.
Track: Phoenix Raceway


Daytona 500

Date: Feb. 17
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Pennzoil 500 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Date: Feb. 23
Winner: Joey Logano (video)

Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

Date: March 1
Winner: Alex Bowman

FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway

Date: March 8
Winner: Joey Logano (video)

The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway

Date: May 17
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway

Date: May 20
Winner: Denny Hamlin (video)

Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Date: May 24
Winner: Brad Keselowski

Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Date: May 28
Winner: Chase Elliott  (video)

Supermarket Heroes 500 – at Bristol Motor Speedway

Date: May 31
Winner: Brad Keselowski

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Date: June 7
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway

Date: June 10
Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (video)

Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Date: June 14
Winner: Denny Hamlin (video)

Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

Date: June 22
Winner: Ryan Blaney

Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway

Date: June 27
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Pocono 350 at Pocono Raceway

Date: June 28
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Date: July 5
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Date: July 12
Winner: Cole Custer

NASCAR All-Star Race

Date: July 15
Winner: Chase Elliott

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Date: July 19
Winner: Austin Dillon

Super Start Batteries 400

Date: July 23
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

Date: Aug. 2:
Winner: Brad Keselowski

FireKeepers Casino 400

Date: Aug. 8
Kevin Harvick

Consumers Energy 400

Date: Aug. 9
Kevin Harvick

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Daytona Road Course

Date: Aug. 16
Chase Elliott

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Dover

Race 1

Date: Aug 22
Denny Hamlin

Race 2

Date: Aug. 23
Kevin Harvick

Coke Zero Sugar 400

Date: Aug. 29
William Byron

Playoffs – Round of 16

Date: Sept. 6 
Kevin Harvick

Date: Sept. 12
Brad Keselowski

Date: Sept. 19
Kevin Harvick

For more on the NASCAR 2020 schedule, news and information, read NASCAR Talk