While Kevin Harvick struggled with an ailing car in the final laps of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, drivers behind were being kept abreast of Harvick’s woes.
NASCAR Talk reviewed radio conversations for Trevor Bayne, who was behind Harvick on the final restart, Matt Kenseth, who was behind Bayne, and Danica Patrick, who was behind Kenseth and the nearest Stewart-Haas Racing teammate behind Harvick.
The transcript has been edited for clarity and to eliminate extraneous portions.
Trevor Bayne’s radio channel
Coming to what was the aborted first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Bayne tells his team: “I don’t want to get hung out on this restart man, but you got to go and start a lane soon, otherwise you’re just blocked up and can’t do anything.’’
Later Bayne says: “4 (Harvick) is blowing up.’’
Bayne: “What are they saying about him?’’
Spotter Freddie Kraft says: “The 4 is going to try to stay high.’’
Bayne: “He’s going to get me trapped probably.’’
After the restart is aborted with the incident involving Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson, Kraft tells Bayne that NASCAR says that did not count as the single attempt at a green-flag finish.
Kraft: “4 … he goes in front of you. I’m sure he’ll do the same layover.’’
Kraft: “We’ll be top (lane) with (Harvick). Hopefully, he’ll do the same again.
Kraft: “Now the 4 is saying he’s not going to do the same because he’s on the verge of the Chase deal.’’
Bayne: “Well, what am I supposed to do?’’
Crew chief Bob Osborne: “If (Harvick) lays back, NASCAR needs to do something about it. Tell the spotter official up there the same thing.’’
Kraft: “Just got to see about the 4. I’ll let this official up here know.’’’
Kraft: “Just got to see what (Harvick) does here. Timmy (Fedewa, spotter for Harvick) don’t know. He thinks they might get out of the way. He’s not sure. They’re right on the verge. 20 (Matt Kenseth) will be on the bumper.’’
Bayne: “As long as the 20 knows the situation.’’
Coming to the restart, Kraft says: “Just be heads up on the 4 if he’s real slow. We’re just going to change lanes before the stripe or go back to 20th with him.’’
Kraft: “Be ready. 10 away (from restart zone). Five away. Ready, green, green, green. Rolling. Go up. Keep rolling, keep rolling, keep it. That’s exactly what he was hoping for. He was trying to wreck the field so he’s in the Chase.’’
Kraft: “Are you all right Trev?’
Bayne: “He pushed me.’’
Later, Bayne says: “Harvick turned right and wrecked the crap out of me. I’m ticked.’’
Kraft: “He did it on purpose. Timmy told me that they were hoping for a yellow. He didn’t tell me they were going to wreck half the field to get one.’’
Bayne: “We need to have a talk with those guys because that was ridiculous.’’
Osborne: “Don’t waste your breath Trevor. Don’t waste your breath.’’
Bayne: “Somebody needs to.’’
Matt Kenseth’s radio channel
As the field heads toward what will be the aborted restart, spotter Chris “Crazy” Osborne tells Kenseth about Harvick’s situation ahead of him.
Osborne: “4 car is talking about having issues two to three cars in front of you on the top line. Be ready.
Osborne on the restart: “(Harvick) is pulling over. Be ready, be ready, be ready. Green flag. Clean out the front. … Caution is out. They did not cross the line.’’
During the caution, Harvick moves up to regain his original spot after falling back on the restart. That confuses Kenseth.
Kenseth: “Why is the 4 going to start up there again?
Osborne: “I’m really not sure.’’
Kenseth: “Did the 4 pit?’’
Osborne: “I did not see him pit.’’
Kenseth: “He was stalled on the top lane. I’m just trying to figure out what happened. He just fall back four rows and get going or something or pit?’’
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff: “No, I don’t think he pitted.’’
Kenseth: “So obviously he’s not out of gas, something else wrong?’’
Ratcliff: “I think he’s blowing up.’’
After Kenseth is told one lap to go, he talks to Osborne about Harvick.
Kenseth: “Try to watch for him checking up again best you can.’’
Kenseth: “4 still saying he has a problem, Crazy?’’
Osborne: “Yeah, 10-4. He just said he’s still racing, trying to get into the Chase or try to make it, so he’s not moving out of the way this time. So be ready for it. Says he’s about to blow up.’’
Kenseth: “Not going to pull to the right? Then where are we supposed to go then?’’
Osborne: “He just said he’s going to stay in his lane.’’
Kenseth: “Oh, he’s probably hoping we wreck, so there’s a yellow. I gotcha.’’
As the field comes to the restart, Osborne calls it.
Osborne: “Be ready, be ready, be ready … jamming up out front … all clear out front. Watch your 4, watch your 4. That was really nice. 4 just dumped us right in the fence to cause a caution. Caution is out.’’
Kenseth: “NASCAR has officially lost any control of this racing that they have.’’
Ratcliff: “I know man, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.’’
Kenseth: “He told me he’s going to stay in his lane. So the 13 (actually it was the 6 of Trevor Bayne) went outside of him. As soon as (Bayne) went outside him, he hung a right and wrecked (Bayne). I was going to go outside and he swerved right into me. I don’t know.’’
Danica Patrick’s radio channel
Spotter Brandon Benesch tells Patrick before the aborted restart that there’s an issue with Harvick’s car.
Benesch: “The 4 has a problem. He thinks he’s either got a cracked head or a cylinder down or something.’’
Benesch: “The 4 sounds bad.’’
Patrick: “I think the 4 is going to go high if the thing won’t run. Check with him.’’
After the failed restart, the field is set again for what will be the single attempt at a green-flag finish.
Benesch: “The 4 is going to be lined up on the top … He’s having major issues. He may pull off the top before the start here. He hasn’t made up his mind yet.’’
Patrick: “Then what will I do?”
Benesch: “I just asked. He said he won’t keep up, so there’s no use (of pushing him).’’
Benesch: “What do you think about that Danica? He said don’t bother.’’
A short time later, Benesch says: “OK, the 4 is going to stay in line. Nobody is going to be able to pass him until the (start/finish) line, so it’s going to be a little bit slow going I believe.’’
Patrick: “Should I be pushing or not?’’
Benesch: “There’s going to be a three-car buffer in between. Just push the whole line I say. I’m going to check with them.’’
Patrick: “Should I push or not?’’
Benesch: “Yeah, push if you can.’’
Patrick: “I’ll try to do the right thing. Try to be smart.’’
Benesch: “10-4, big picture here.’’
The field comes to the restart and Patrick is among those collected in the crash.