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via Imago

via Imago

Before becoming Happy Harvick, our 2014 Cup champion had a penchant for the wild ways. Kevin Harvick hung up his racing helmet only a few months back, but memories of his dramatic racing career still stand fresh. In the early 2000s, Harvick washed up against several drivers, most of whom were veterans.

For instance, Kevin Harvick launched into an angry young man mode in 2002. He leaped over a car and grabbed Greg Biffle’s collar after the latter had spun him. Then in a 2012 Watkins Glen race, Harvick got into a scuffle with Juan Pablo Montoya, and the two settled it over a few shoves and pushes. But his conflicts with Kyle Busch were multiple, as Harvick recently recalled one incident in 2011.

Kevin Harvick recounts a dramatic tussle with Busch and Co.

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Before Denny Hamlin mounted the villain’s pedestal in NASCAR, Kyle Busch occupied it. ‘Rowdy’ Busch got into frequent conflicts, and he had a particularly colorful relationship with Kevin Harvick. In the 2005 Xfinity race at Dover, Busch and Harvick collided coming off Turn 4 when running door-to-door. From then on, their dynamic took a bitter turn. In 2011, Harvick almost let his fists fly at Busch for wrecking his teammate.

However, tensions reached a boiling point in 2011 at Darlington Raceway. Both drivers traded paint quite a few times until Kyle Busch landed the final blow by hooking Harvick in the right rear. Richard Childress’ driver did not digest that and waited to pounce upon Kyle Busch after the race.

On a recent episode of ‘Kevin Harvick’s Happy Hour,’ Harvick recounted how Busch actively avoided his raging advances. “I recall my shoulder still hurting because as I went in to punch him in the head, he decided to take off in his car. He knew he was gonna get punched in the head.”

 

Then Harvick’s short temper earned him and his rival a call to the NASCAR hauler. “That was a very interesting post-race conversation. They pulled us into the NASCAR trailer. That’s when I was getting our invitation…we had a very fiery bunch of guys that just wanted to fight anybody. So we went up in the trailer. And Kyle and I had been in the trailer a lot together over instances.”

Yet that day was unique because even the team owners were reprimanded, and Busch’s chief tried to tackle Kevin Harvick in a unique way. “But that night, I’ll never forget it, because that was one of those nights that Joe Gibbs and Richard had to go into the trailer as well. They were supposed to be in charge of their drivers. Joe Gibbs said something, and I said something back. Joe actually wrote me a letter after that meeting.”

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Despite the numerous times Kevin Harvick battled with Kyle Busch, both have matured and become friends over the years.

The two arch-enemies softened their thorny relations

Every bitter face-off simmers down with time. The same occurred with Harvick and Busch after their explosive confrontations. They were soon capable of hard but clean battles on the track and could discuss their children’s racing careers. Kyle Busch felt the big turning point came in 2014 after Kevin Harvick Incorporated shuttered.

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Kyle Busch felt a camaraderie between him and Harvick, as he shared, “From 2014 on, we’ve been fine. We give each other space; we know when each other is faster. Like in 2018, when it was the Big Three, it was me, Kevin, and Martin [Truex Jr.]. Martin would win, Kevin would win, Kyle would win. Martin would win, Kyle would win, Kevin would win. It kept going, and we never really had the moments that we were at each other’s throats. We were racing another hard but clean, and may the best man win.”

So at present, both Harvick and Busch must be recollecting their past tussles with a good laugh.