Kevin Harvick Recalls Almost ‘Beating Up’ Kyle Busch for Destroying His Partner’s Championship Bid

Published 04/11/2024, 2:52 AM EDT

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Before Denny Hamlin snagged the reputation as NASCAR’s villain, Kyle Busch sported that name. When Busch was in his prime, he was an angry young man. The rowdy driver gained a reputation for getting into tiffs, and he demonstrated his aggression in a Truck Series playoff race. He stole the dreams of a Kevin Harvick-incorporated driver to win the season’s championship, and the team owner was livid. He encountered a recent conflict with Christopher Bell at the Circuit of The Americas, but that was much less dramatic in comparison to his earlier exploits.

Back in 2011, NASCAR Hall of Famer, Ron Hornaday Jr drove for Kevin Harvick Incorporated in the Truck races. The four-time Truck champion was a title contender, pinning his hopes on a fifth championship cup that year. But along came Rowdy, who was not even competing full-time and already had four wins, and shattered the veteran’s dreams.

In retaliation for Hornaday’s bump in a three-wide situation, Busch went rogue. He drove his #18 truck right into Hornaday’s #33 and violently slammed him into the wall. And Kevin Harvick, who won the race, was fuming. Recently, he narrated the story on his podcast ‘Harvick Happy Hour’, recalling how badly he wanted to beat up Kyle Busch.


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Harvick said, “So he wrecks Hornaday, I’m leading the race in the trucks and wound up winning the race. Well, on the radio, I was livid because Hornaday was gonna win the championship that year… So basically it cost us a championship and I was mad. I said on the radio, ‘If somebody doesn’t go over there and kick his a** right now, I’m gonna be completely disappointed in everybody’…”

As it turns out, somebody else volunteered in Harvick’s place. Josh Jones, current VP of KHI Management, came up. “Well, I got mother functioned. Josh Jones, he’s going after Kyle Busch. He’s on his way to the garage and goes up into Kyle Busch’s trailer, and a NASCAR official pulls him out of the trailer, takes his hard card, and puts him in the lounge of the trailer.” 

Later, Kevin Harvick had to go pick up his loyal friend, I didn’t know my guy was sitting in the NASCAR lounge. I had to go retrieve Josh because he had tried to beat up Kyle Busch. He’s like, ‘I was just doing what I was told to do,'”


Yet Harvick was prepared to be the perpetrator if a NASCAR official had not stopped him in the nick of time.


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Harvick was muscled out of a possible brawl

Kevin Harvick was no less rowdy back in the day. In a 2002 Bristol Cup race, he premeditated a vicious attack on Greg Biffle, who wrecked him that day. Hence, when he saw his partner getting axed in 2011, Harvick’s temper flared up. He was about to create a ruckus right after he won the Truck race, but a NASCAR official physically stopped him.

Harvick recalled: “So I win the race, and I’m just fuming, waiting to get out of the truck. I pull into Victory Lane, and the first person on my window is NASCAR security, Mike…He takes the window net down, leans in my car, and says, ‘Do not get out of this truck and make a scene. We have everything handled, and when you’re done, you need to come to the NASCAR hauler.’”


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Harvick’s surging emotions were justified, as the entire NASCAR community raged at Kyle Busch. Soon Busch apologized, and ever since then, he has worked on his rowdy tendencies.

Read More: Kevin Harvick’s Successor Demands Patience From Fans Amidst the Pursuit of ‘The Closer’s’ NASCAR Success


Written by:

Sumedha Mukherjee


One take at a time

Sumedha Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports who is known for her in-depth track analysis as well as her lifestyle coverage of Cup drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Inspired by the Kiwi's journey so far, Sumedha has also written pieces on Shane Van Gisbergen, predicting how the Supercars Champion would do in the new and unfamiliar American setting. Pairing her research skills with her vast experience as a writer, Sumedha creates stories her readers can easily get lost in.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta