kevin harvick interview after 2022 darlington playoff race
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Kevin Harvick Rips NASCAR's "Crappy-Ass Parts" After Car Bursts Into Flames at Darlington


Every NASCAR driver wants to have a hot start to the Cup Series playoffs. Things definitely got hot for Kevin Harvick at Darlington Raceway this past weekend, but definitely not the kind of hot that the 46-year-old Stewart-Haas Racing driver had in mind. On lap 276 of the Southern 500, Harvick's No. 4 Ford Mustang caught fire, forcing him to park his car immediately and get the hell out of there.

Harvick was ultimately credited with a 33rd-place finish, which puts him last on the playoff grid and below the cutline by 13 points. Cleary fired-up over his fiery exit, Harvick used his post-race interview as an opportunity to roast NASCAR for its "crappy-ass parts."

"I'm sure it's just crappy parts on the race car like we've seen so many times," Harvick said. "They haven't fixed anything. It's kind of like the safety stuff. We just let it keep going and keep going. The car started burning and as it burned the flames started coming through the dash."

"I ran a couple laps and then as the flame got bigger it started burning stuff up and I think right there you see all the brake fluid that was probably coming out the brakes and part of the brake line, but the fire was coming through the dash."

"What a disaster for no reason. We didn't touch the wall. We didn't touch a car and here we are in the pits with a burned-up car and we can't finish the race during the playoffs because of crappy-ass parts."

Now, NASCAR's Next Gen car has had plenty of critics this year, with Harvick being chief among them. The car is only in its first year of competition, so it's inevitable that tweaks will need to be made. But, there have been significant safety situations apparent throughout the season that have raised concern among drivers.


As it turns out, cars bursting into flames was actually a big problem earlier in the season. This was due to the fact that when a car was hit on the right side, it would push the exhaust inward while the body would pop back out to its original position, putting the exhaust tips an inch inside the body and causing fire. NASCAR has since fixed that issue, but clearly that hasn't stopped the whole spontaneous combustion thing, as seen by Kevin Harvick's recent debacle.

On top of the issue with fires, drivers like Denny Hamlin have also complained that the impacts they have sustained due to collisions have felt harder than normal. Kurt Busch's wreck during qualifying at Pocono back in July was probably the harshest example. The collision didn't seem all that serious, but it led to Busch being sidelined for the rest of the regular season due to concussion-like symptoms and ultimately withdrawing from the playoffs.

Following Busch's incident at Pocono, Kevin Harvick was harshly critical of NASCAR's lackluster response.

"I think when you look at the things that happened with the accidents, I think these are the exact concerns that the drivers had from the very first day we saw the car," Harvick said. "There hasn't been a lot of progression other than we changed some of the rear clip stuff; we changed some of the impact stuff. But these cars don't crash like the other cars crash. They're violent impacts, and they feel a lot different than what the crash data g-load is. It goes straight through the driver's body."

Harvick added, "I saw a list of stuff from [NASCAR], and it's not the top thing on the priority. It's always about competition. And I know that they won't tell you that but the concerns that the drivers have just hasn't seemed to resonate into a really, really quick response in trying to make that better."

Harvick may be the most vocal when it comes to decrying NASCAR's commitment to safety, but clearly he hasn't been the only one to suffer as a result of the Next Gen car's apparent defects.


MORE: 5 Times Kevin Harvick Unleashed on Rival NASCAR Drivers in Post-Race Interviews

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