A NASCAR official said Monday on “The Morning Drive” that “there won’t be any penalties ” to Kevin Harvick for striking Jimmie Johnson in the motorhome lot after Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, made the comment on his weekly SiriusXM NASCAR Radio visit.
“That is emotion coming out when the stakes are really high in the Chase,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve got a reigning champion who finds himself in a tough spot … really needing to win (to advance), so you understand the frustration. You don’t like to see what happened, but from our standpoint that’s just pure emotion when the stakes are high and knowing how important it is to go out and win a championship.”
Harvick, who finished 42nd Sunday, was upset with Johnson with their contact on a restart just past the halfway mark at Chicagoland Speedway. Johnson got a bump from Joey Logano and went below Harvick. They ran side-by-side heading toward Turn 1 when there was contact.
“He didn’t leave me any space,” Johnson said after the race and before talking to Harvick. “He was pinning me down, and I had to get back up on the track. I wouldn’t say that what he did was any different than other situations I’ve been in like that. When you are in his position, you want to get the inside car in a bad angle so they have to lift. I was fine with lifting, but I had to get back on the race track, so I worked my way back up on the track.”
Johnson went to Harvick’s motorhome to discuss the restart. Harvick struck Johnson with a closed fist and then had to be held back from Johnson, who walked away.
Harvick likely has to win either this weekend at New Hampshire or next weekend at Dover to advance to second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.