Former Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick expressed his frustration with NASCAR and his new Cup Series car after his car caught fire Sunday night at Darlington.
Harvick was forced to park his car and get out of it while on the track after it caught fire during the final stage of the race won by Erik Jones. Harvick said the fire started through his dashboard two laps before he parked it and the flames got worse.
Harvick called the car parts “bullshit” in his interview with NBC after getting out of the car. He finished 33rd in the first game of the playoffs.
“I’m sure it’s poor quality parts on the race car like we’ve seen so many times. They haven’t fixed anything. It’s kind of like the security stuff. We let it go on and on. The car began to burn, and as it burned, flames began to come out of the dashboard. I ran a couple of laps and then as the flame got bigger it started burning things and I think right there you see all the brake fluid that was probably coming out of the brakes and some of the brake line but the fire was through the board. . What a mess for no reason. We don’t touch the wall. We didn’t touch a car and here we are in the pits with a burned out car and we can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of shitty parts.”
The 2022 season is the first for NASCAR’s new car to be built primarily with single-source parts. The changes were made for teams to cut costs rather than build their own car-specific parts and fires have been a concern over the course of the season. At least four cars have caught fire in strange ways during the first 27 races of the season.
Fires haven’t been the only safety issues in 2022, as Harvick mentioned in his comments after the fire. Kurt Busch has been out of action since July with a concussion after his car hit the wall in a seemingly innocuous qualifying crash at Pocono. And drivers like Denny Hamlin spoke about how hard the hits were at Daytona a week ago in the multiple crashes that occurred during the rain-delayed regular-season finale. Hamlin even skipped Saturday’s Xfinity Series race because of pain from his accident at Daytona.
The new car has delivered mostly competitive racing throughout the season, with 17 drivers taking victories in the first 27 races. But safety is more important than parity or racing quality, and it’s clear NASCAR has work to do in the safety department through the final nine races of the season and into 2023 to make drivers feel safer at the cab from both crash impacts and fire. . Hopefully the comments from Harvick and other influential drivers about those safety issues will spur the innovation that’s needed.