Years ago, Kevin Harvick was sarcastically given the nickname "Happy Harvick" for his outbursts on the track and during post-race interviews. With that in mind, you could say that the Stewart-Haas Racing driver really showed his "happy" side at Darlington Raceway last weekend when he went in on NASCAR's "crappy-ass parts" after his No. 4 Ford Mustang burst into flames.
Harvick's rant, which targeted NASCAR officials for not doing enough to fix the safety issues associated with the Next Gen car, definitely didn't sit well with Scott Miller, NASCAR's senior vice-president of competition. During an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's The Morning Drive, Miller hit back at Harvick and insisted that the sanctioning body is doing all it can to put out the fires once and for all, so to speak.
"To say that NASCAR didn't care (about the Darlington fires) is about as far from the truth as you could get," Miller said. "That's really all I have to say about that. I'm not going to get into any kind of back-and-forth contest with Kevin (Harvick) over the airwaves. I think he actually does know we do care."
? "It's unacceptable for the cars to catch on fire [...] we have to get to the bottom of it quick, obviously."
? #NASCAR's SVP of Competition Scott Miller joined #TMDNASCAR to share what the sanctioning body is doing to combat the problem.@TheMikeBagley | @PPistone pic.twitter.com/lPRoTYIt8T
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) September 6, 2022
While Miller also admitted that what happened at Darlington is "unacceptable" -- as were the fires at Indy back in July that involved Chris Buescher and Joey Logano -- he added that NASCAR would be thoroughly investigating the situation.
"We're certainly digging into the cause [and] looking for any signs of anything that may have triggered that," Miller said. "You know, we've done so all year. There's a lot of rubber at Darlington. The 'cheese grate' that we always talked about. We're not certain if rubber getting into the rocker box (near the exhaust) was the problem or not."
"We're debriefing it all. It's unacceptable for the cars to catch on fire. We've been working on different solutions for different things that seem to maybe be the trigger. We're looking at clearances on particularly the Ford exhaust because they seem to been having a little bit more trouble than the other manufacturers."
"There's a lot of work going on, a lot of collaboration within the industry to get to the bottom of it. Obviously, we have to get to the bottom of it quickly. We still have work to do."
On Wednesday morning, NASCAR officially announced a rule change to address the Darlington incident. Here's the official breakdown:
- A lateral seal/dam must be installed between the back of the front clip weight box and the top of the splitter panel (location shown below). This seal must extend laterally to the width of the engine panel. The purpose of this dam is to reduce the migration of tire debris from the splitter area.
- The lower front section of the right side back stop panel must be trimmed as indicated. The section that is removed must be replaced by a 14 gauge stainless steel panel. The steel panel must be mounted inboard of the polymer panel.
- Using any joint adjustment available in the exhaust assembly, it is recommended that the clearance between the exhaust and the floor of the rocker box is maximized.
MORE: 5 Times Kevin Harvick Unleashed on Rival NASCAR Drivers in Post-Race Interviews
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