Concern about a sick car and confusion about NASCAR’s green-white-checkered policy reigned over Kevin Harvick‘s radio in the final laps of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.
NASCAR Talk listened to the radio conversations between Harvick, crew chief Rodney Childers and spotter Tim Fedewa in the final portion of the race, beginning when Jamie McMurray‘s blown engine brought out the caution on Lap 185 of a race scheduled for 188 laps but extended to 196 laps.
Some drivers accused Harvick of intentionally wrecked Trevor Bayne on the final restart to ensure a yellow-flag finish, allowing Harvick’s ailing car to finish in a position that would advance him to the third round of the Chase.
Tuesday morning, NASCAR reaffirmed that Harvick did nothing wrong and that it would not penalize him for his contact with Bayne.
Here’s what was said on Harvick’s radio in those final laps. The transcript has been edited for clarity and to eliminate extraneous portions:
After Jamie McMurray’s engine blows to bring out the caution, Childers updates Harvick on where he is to advance to the third round of the Chase.
“(Kyle Busch) will start behind you. You’ll just have to drive your butt off to keep him behind you. It’s all you can at this point.’’
After spotter Tim Fedewa tells Harvick that it will be a green-white-checkered finish, Childers said: “Just a reminder on that. If they wreck at any point during that it’s over. It doesn’t matter when that is.’’
Fedewa: “That’s if they throw the yellow.’’
A few minutes later, while still under caution, Harvick says on the radio: “Something is not right guys. It won’t hardly run now.’’
Childers: “Are your gauges good?’’
Harvick: “Everything is good. I don’t know if the ECU is confused or what.’’
Asked to further describe what is happening, Harvick says: “It’s missing like crazy.’’
Childers: “Kurt (Busch) said you definitely got a broken tail pipe. That could be screwing with the ECU, you know the O2 and stuff.’’
Harvick: “We’re in big trouble. I’m wide open and it won’t go.’’
Childers, Harvick and Fedewa try to solve the issue but can’t.
Harvick: “It’s as fast as it will go boys.’’
As they get ready for one lap until the restart, Harvick says: “It’s worse.’’
Fedewa “I just don’t want (the cars behind) to run over you. I’ll just tell them it won’t go.’’
Harvick: “It won’t go.’’
Fedewa: “Are you going to stay high Kevin if it don’t go?’’
Harvick: “I’m going to try.’’
As they come to the green, Fedewa tells Harvick the green flag is out and then to slow down because of a wreck that involves Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson.
Fedewa: “They didn’t cross the (start/finish) line so it’s another green-white-checkered.’’
Harvick: “I don’t understand.’’
Childers: “That’s not right. Once you throw the green flag it’s over.’’
Fedewa: “No, they say once you cross the line.’’
All three continue to question NASCAR’s decision that the restart didn’t count as the single attempt at a green-white-checkered finish until Harvick goes back to the problems with his car.
Harvick: “I don’t think you guys understand, I’m wide open right now.’’
Harvick and Childers both state the race should be over.
Fedewa: “All I know to do Rodney is just hold our position and pull out like he did last time and hope they wreck past the flag stand, I guess.’’
Childers: “I don’t think it’s the ECU. I don’t … I don’t know what to tell you to do, you know? Hopefully, they wreck right past the start/finish line and we end up with something. If not, we’ll be out. Everybody’s done a good job all day, though, no matter what.’’
Fedewa: “I told everybody the same deal … try to get to the start/finish line and hopefully they’ll wreck right past it. It ain’t any better is it?’’
Childers: “I know you ain’t got much option. I would try to block as many positions as you can. That’s really what it’s going to come down to.’’
Harvick: “Tell the 6 (Bayne) to push me.’’
Fedewa: “Yeah, 10-4 on that.’’
Childers gives Harvick an update on his position in the Chase: “Right now, you’re 13 points to the good. Thirteen positions. We just got to hang in there the best you can and hope (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) don’t win it here.’’
Fedewa: “I told (teammate Danica Patrick), she’s the next car behind us three rows back to push us. Tony (Stewart) is about six rows back. Coming to the green.’’
Fedewa then calls the restart: “Ready … ready … ready … ready, ready, ready. Green flag, green flag. Here comes a big push, 6. They’re all going to split you. Big wreck behind you. Wrecking behind you. Keep digging, digging. Yellow’s out. … Keep digging here. Race is over. Come across the line though.
As the field runs under caution, Harvick says: “They’re all going way too fast. You need to make sure we get the right spot.’’
Childers: “Not sure where we were. They want you to stay where you’re at. They shouldn’t have been going that fast under caution. Stay where you’re at.’’
Later, Childers says: “Checkered flag. By our stuff, we should be OK (to advance to the next round of the Chase). I’ll let you know what they’re saying.’’