The first three-race winning streak of Kevin Harvick‘s career was accompanied by special meaning and a sardonic message.
Harvick, whose win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was stripped of its playoff implications because of a rear window deemed illegal by NASCAR, said Sunday’s victory at ISM Raceway was on par with winning the 2014 season finale to clinch a Cup championship.
“This really felt more important than winning at Homestead, to race for a championship,” Harvick told Fox Sports in victory lane (video above) after his 40th career victory tied him with Mark Martin for 18th all time. “Just to drive it home for all those supporters out there.”
Harvick paused and pointed at the camera.
“And all you haters, I see you,” he said with a smile.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver certainly seemed to relish the rebound from a controversial week in which he pointedly questioned NASCAR’s decision last Friday. Part of his victory celebration included playfully tapping and pointing at the rear window of his No. 4 Ford after climbing from the car.
“I’ve been pissed is what I’ve been,” said Harvick, who increased his win total to nine at the 1-mile oval formerly known as Phoenix Raceway. “I’ve been mad as all get out because this team does a great job, this organization does a great job, and we’ve got fast race cars. To take that away from those guys just really pissed me off last week.
“To come to a racetrack that is so good for us is a lot of fun, and everyone was just determined this week. We just wanted to go stomp them. We didn’t stop them, but we won. That’s really all that matters. Just proud of this team. It put a fire in our belly.”
Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart said after the win Sunday that the team wouldn’t appeal the Las Vegas penalty.
Watch the video of Harvick’s victory lane interview above.