Kevin Harvick on racing in rain: ‘Most unsafe thing I’ve ever done in a race car’

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AUSTIN, Texas — Kevin Harvick called racing in the rain “the most unsafe thing I’ve ever done in a race car by a lot.”

Harvick spoke after he slowed to avoid an accident and was slammed in the back by Bubba Wallace in Sunday’s Cup race at Circuit of the Americas. Vision was difficult because of the rain and the large spray of water from the cars on the wet track.

MORE: NASCAR vows to learn lessons from racing in rain

Harvick was slowing after Christopher Bell had slammed into the back of a slowing Ryan Blaney. No one was injured.

Harvick was livid in the garage.

“It’s the most unsafe thing I’ve ever done in a race car by a lot,” he said. “You can’t see anything down the straightaways. These cars were not built to run in the rain and when you can’t see, my spotter said, ‘Check up, check up,’ because he thought he saw two cars wrecking. 

“I let off and the guy behind me hit me wide-open because he never saw me. It’s unbelievable that we’re out there doing what we’re doing because we’re in race cars that aren’t made to do this, and if you can’t see going down the straightaway it’s absolutely not safe, not even close.”

Asked if the sport had any business being on track in the rain and conditions, Harvick said:

“We don’t have any business being out in the rain, period.  All I can say is this is the worst decision that we’ve ever made in our sport that I’ve been a part of, and I’ve never felt more unsafe in my whole racing career, period.”

Shortly afterward, Martin Truex Jr ran into the back of Michael McDowell‘s car, as it slowed. That contact slowed Truex. Cole Custer then ran into the back of Truex’s car, sending the back end of Truex’s car up in the air. No one was injured. The race was stopped to clean the track. NASCAR sent the Air Titans on to the track to remove some of the water on the surface.

“You can’t see,”Truex said. “Just wide open in third gear and next thing there’s a car on my hood, it’s not a good feeling. I’m trying to stay in the gas and keep going. I want to get out of that area and through the braking zone because I knew I was going to get hit again and the next thing I knew, I got hit so hard that I was 10-feet in the air. I don’t know. Just wild. Hopefully, everybody else is okay, that’s the most important thing. Just a mess, you can’t see anything.”

Said Custer:  “It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it was gonna be, but it’s just that you can’t see anything. It’s pretty bad. I mean, you can’t see a foot in front of your car. I was just rolling down the backstretch. You can’t see anything. I’m just so frustrated about having our day end like this.  It killed the car and it’s just really frustrating.”

Before the race resumed, NASCAR gave teams time to clean the windshields of the cars and announced that restarts would be single file for visibility concerns until further notice.