Kevin Harvick on stage race with Kurt Busch: ‘Every point matters’

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Kevin Harvick explained Tuesday night on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show why he raced Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch so hard at the end of stage 2 at Chicagoland Speedway and his reaction to Busch’s radio rant.

Harvick passed Busch on the outside coming to the line to win the stage Sunday and score 10 points — and most importantly — one playoff point.

Busch went on a profanity-laced tirade on his radio before saying: “That’s a teammate right there everybody. That’s what a teammate does. Never expected that from a teammate.”

On his show “Happy Hours,” Harvick said:

“For us and the No. 4 team, I mean, every point matters. Honestly, I didn’t hit him. I didn’t run into him. Didn’t move him out of the way. So, he kind of has those tirades on the radio quite a bit.

“I think for me, it’s really about the (playoff) point. When you look at the weekend, we felt like we were not where we wanted to be from a car standpoint and were able to get a good points weekend out of it and a stage win. I hate that it hurt his feelings, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Harvick agreed that a teammate is given more respect on the track but said it’s still racing.

“It’s a situation where (at Stewart-Haas Racing) you are expected to race hard,” Harvick said. “There are no team orders. Everybody wants you to go out and race as hard as you can, and they want you to race each other as hard as you can without tearing up your race cars.

“For me, I didn’t see anything that was out of bounds. When (NBC Sports’) Dave (Burns) asked me that question after the race (about Busch), I didn’t, obviously, hear the radio communication and the things out of Kurt’s mouth. But for me in the car, I thought it was a good race, gave him thumbs up down the backstraightaway and he gave me the thumbs up back.

“I thought all was good. Like I say, those meltdowns are not uncommon from that particular radio.”

By winning the stage, Harvick increased his total to 27 playoffs points. Kyle Busch has a series-high 30 playoff points. Kurt Busch has two playoff points.

“Right now you want to try to win every stage, you want to try to win every race and everything you can because you never know what’s going to happen,” Harvick said. “You look at Kyle Larson last year. Everybody thought Kyle Larson was a lock to the end of the year because of the bonus points he had. Well, guess what, he blew a motor and wrecked, all in one (round). … Anything can happen, no matter how many bonus points you have. But the more that you can gather, the more cushion that you give yourself against as many mistakes.”

This isn’t the first difference of opinion between the two former champions at SHR.

They had issues after the race at Talladega Superspeedway in the 2016 playoffs. Busch hit Harvick’s car on the cool-down lap. After they parked on pit road, Harvick went to Busch’s car, reached in with his right hand and leaned into the car.

Here is the video of what happened in that 2016 race and what both said afterward: