LOUDON, N.H. – No threats, no promises, no looking back. Kevin Harvick refused to rehash last week’s run-in with Jimmie Johnson on and off the track after qualifying second for Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“We’re not going to use you guys to make threats,’’ Harvick said. “I losedan do that myself.’’
Asked if Johnson should fear retribution, Harvick said: “I don’t look back.’’
Johnson admits that “I truthfully don’t know what to expect” racing Harvick this weekend.
“I certainly know what I hope for,’’ Johnson said after qualifying fifth. “There’s no telling what will take place.’’
Johnson said they have not talked since last week.
Harvick’s focus is on winning – which the reigning champion likely needs to do – this weekend or next weekend at Dover to advance to the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup after finishing 42nd last week at Chicagoland Speedway.
Harvick is in this spot after contact with Johnson cut Harvick’s left rear tire and caused Harvick’s car to wreck three laps later. Joey Logano shoved Johnson’s car on the restart, forcing it to the apron. Johnson hit Harvick’s car trying to return to the track.
“It really was a racing incident,’’ Johnson said. “I was just trying to get back on the race track. Unfortunately, that contact took place. It just sucks for those guys. I feel for Kevin. That’s not the situation that any of us wanted to happen. Unfortunately, it’s racing. There was a lot going on on that restart and we had the contact.’’
That moment dramatically changed the Chase, as one of the favorites to make the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway could fail to survive the first round.
Johnson said he went to Harvick’s motorhome after the race because others had done the same to him in similar situations.
“Although I wasn’t happy to see whoever it was, it meant something to me and I appreciated the fact that they came to my bus to see me,’’ Johnson said. “That’s all I was trying to do there.’’
Harvick responded by thrusting a fist into Johnson’s chest and had to be held back. Johnson walked away.
“I knew he wasn’t going to be in the best mood,’’ Johnson said “I was expecting everything and anything. I didn’t go over there to fight.’’
Harvick’s mindset now is on looking ahead.
“I don’t have a lot to say on any of it,’’ Harvick said of last week’s incidents. “I’m here to race and do what I have to do … in the next two weeks.’’
Harvick admits he’ll need to be aggressive. This predicament is not new, though. He had to win at Phoenix in last year’s Chase to make the finale at Homestead and had to win that race to win the title.
“You still have to go out with the mentality of trying to win a race,’’ Harvick said. “I think everybody around us knows that, and I think they’re very aware of the aggressive nature that we need to go after that.’’