'Hitman' Harvick, 'Rowdy' Busch set for Round 2
Busch and Harvick were both fined $25,000 and placed on probation by NASCAR after the Darlington tussle. It wasn't the last time the two bumped and battled on NASCAR's top circuit. A few weeks later at Pocono, the two were fighting for position and Harvick forced his rival down the track. NASCAR radioed both crews to tell their drivers to cool it.
That's not likely to happen. NASCAR Hall-of-Fame driver and announcer Darrell Waltrip says the two may be the closest thing the circuit has to a continuing, old-style feud.
"I don't think they like each other too much," Waltrip said.
That's what Darlington's counting on to fill the stands.
The ads say, "Don't Miss Round 2" and feature a glaring Harvick with arms folded staring at an image of Busch whose arms are raised in triumph and whose hands appear to have boxing gloves on.
Browning, Darlington's president, reached out to both drivers to do more Harvick-vs.-Busch promotion for the Mother's Day weekend race.
"Both of them politely declined," Browning said. "And I can understand. Each of them have to watch out for their own brands."
Even if everyone else, including fellow drivers, were watching Harvick-vs.-Busch, too.
Denny Hamlin finished sixth last year and was parking in the garage when he heard the fans roaring. Hamlin looked for a TV screen to see what was happening.
"You hear the talk from the crew people, 'Ah, Harvick just hit him. (Busch) pushed his car into the wall,'" Hamlin remembered. "So we're all not worried about what's going on with our cars after the race, we're just worried about the drama off track."
Harvick has helped promote Darlington Raceway in the past. He delivered beer — Harvick's primary sponsor is Anheuser Busch's signature brew, Budweiser — to an area Wal-Mart a few weeks before last year's Southern 500. He's not as comfortable with his latest role promoting the track known as the "The Lady in Black."
"It's a little bit of a difficult situation that it puts everybody in," Harvick said. "It's just easier not to be" involved."
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