Kevin Harvick, who had recovered from running outside the top-20 early in the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to run inside the top-10 in the final Stage of the race, exited the event on lap 275, when his No. 4 Ford Mustang engulfed in flames.
After climbing from the car, the driver, who is known as “Happy” Harvick was anything but happy as the fire was the continuation of ongoing problems with NASCAR’s Next Gen car, where the foam in the sides of the car ignite, causing the car to catch fire.
When asked what caused the fire, Harvick lashed into the sanctioning body, who have made changes in recent weeks in an attempt to solve the Next Gen fire issues.
“I’m sure it’s just the crappy parts on the race car, like we’ve seen so many times,” Harvick pointed. “We haven’t fixed anything. It’s kind of like the safety stuff, we just let it keep going and keep going.”
According to Harvick, the flames were not contained outside the car. The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion explained that the fire had actually reached the cockpit of his race car.
“The car started burning and as it burns — the flames start coming through the dash,” Harvick explained. “I ran a couple of laps and as the flame got bigger, it started burning stuff up.”
For Harvick, who entered the race as the ninth seed in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, he is now forced to sit on the sidelines, while the majority of his competitors for the championship are able to finish the race.
As Harvick realized that fact, he became increasingly more frustrated, as he hadn’t turned a wheel wrong all night long, despite seeing his race end.
“What a disaster man. No reason. We didn’t touch a wall. We didn’t touch a car. And here we are in the pits with a burned up car and can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of crappy ass parts,” Harvick seethed.
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As the race stands, at lap 305, Harvick would fall from inside the Playoff cutline, to being the 16th-place man in the championship battle. Harvick would be 10 points behind the cutline, if nothing changes the rest of the way in Sunday’s race.