Tempers Flare In NASCAR Nationwide Race At Richmond

Richmond International Raceway has been known to bring out the short-track tempers, and Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race was no different. 

While a number of drivers were frustrated with one another, in a strange twist it seemed a few separate feuds became intertwined at one point in the race. 

The first came on Lap 80, when Kevin Harvick got into the back of Nationwide regular Jason Leffer heading into the third corner. Leffler's car spun, backing hard into the wall. 

After the team made repairs, Leffler returned to the track looking to return the favor to Harvick.

With Harvick continuing on after their initial incident, he was in the thick of racing teammate Elliott Sadler and Trevor Bayne for position when the pack came up on Leffler's damaged No. 38 Chevrolet. 

As Leffler slowed and stacked up the field, Bayne ran into the back of Harvick, buckling the hood of the No. 16 Ford. Continuing to be held up by Leffler, Bayne again got into the back of Harvick as he attempted to make a move underneath, sending the No. 33 into the outside wall.

Harvick then turned into the right rear of Bayne's car which hit the outside wall hard, ending a solid run for the Daytona 500 champion. 

After emerging from the infield care center, Bayne felt Harvick was blocking for Sadler in an attempt to keep him in the championship hunt.

"I don't understand what the deal is or why he would race like that," Bayne said. "Harvick is normally a way better racer than that. It is just frustrating when people do stuff like that and it is intentional. He let the (Sadler) go and intentionally blocked us to keep me from passing them both. It is frustrating when we had that good of a car and had that good of a day."    

Following the race, Harvick told SceneDaily.com's Bob Pockrass he was not blocking for Sadler, but was trying to avoid Leffler's attempted payback. Once Bayne got into him off the second corner, Harvick admitted to turning the No. 16. 

 

While Bayne was unhappy with Harvick blocking, that was not the only driver he was upset with for blocking throughout the race. Prior to the incident with Harvick, Bayne radioed his spotter warning the No. 20 car of Ryan Truex that if he continued blocking "it would not be good for anybody."

"It's frustrating because you can race Kyle Busch for the lead, and he'll let you go," Bayne said. "The 20 car, whoever, for 12th and they just decide to block all night."

Truex saw things differently, saying he needed to make the most of his opportunities and attract sponsors with a good finish – he eventually ended the day fourth.

"We were racing," he said. "I'm trying to get sponsors here and you've got to run up front to get sponsors. I didn't mean to run him hard or block him or anything. I was just trying to run my line."

For Leffler, he was able to accomplish his goal without touching Harvick's car. 

 

"He wrecked me, you know?" Leffler said. "He ended up wrecking himself, so it worked out alright." 

Leffler would not deny backing up to wait for Harvick, but said the car was "a handful" after the wreck.

"I never touched him," he said. "He ended up wrecking himself. It is frustrating. If he legitimately made a mistake, I'd understand, but I don't think he did. He was mad that we got three-wide in (Turns) 1 and 2, and just took his frustrations out on me. I'm running for a job and a living here – well I guess he is too, so I can't really say much. I don't know, I'm not real happy."

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