After the conclusion of the F.W. Webb 200 Nationwide race in Loudon, NH, Kevin Harvick went off on a female driver – and it was not Danica Patrick.
Harvick’s No. 33 car had surrendered the lead to eventual winner Brad Keselowski because he was stalled behind the No. 24 car of Amber Cope, who with her sister Angela makes up “the first twins of NASCAR.” What incensed Harvick even more than the fact that he had relinquished the lead, was that Cope had been behind 33 laps at that point and had no chance of winning the race.
“It’s not one of those deals,” an angry Harvick said on ESPN after the race. “It’s somebody who shouldn’t be on the racetrack, who has no clue what they’re doing in the race car.
“She wants to be the next Danica Patrick, but she can’t hold her helmet. I don’t even know who it is, to tell you the truth.”
The following morning on ESPN2’s “NASCAR Now,” Harvick added even more fuel to the fire by denying a request for an apology to Cope. “Pick some boots and your favorite song and find a new job,” he advised Cope through ESPN2’s Nicole Briscoe.
And someone who knows a little bit about all of these drivers and more, SportsRantz’s own resident NASCAR maven, senior writer Kristina Chambers, had two words for Harvick: Tough luck.
“I believe that Harvick is over the line with this situation,” Chambers told me. “Anber is trying to be a Nationwide Series driver and make a name for herself in the sport as a female driver. He simply got pissed because she didn’t just move over. And honestly, just because you are a Cup Series driver racing a Nationwide race, doesn’t mean everything is simple and given to you.
“He wasn’t going to win this race either way.”
Chambers also applauded Cope’s determination, in spite of her position – as well as Harvick’s position on her position. “Good for her to stand her ground and not let him walk all over another Nationwide driver,” she said.
Amber indeed held her own on Twitter after the race, insisting she “did absolutely nothing wrong” late in the race.
Kevin Harvick has been known to get into it with drivers on the Sprint Cup circuit. That being said, a Harvick/Cope twins feud would be an interesting one to watch, considering Harvick shouldn’t hit a lady.
Meanwhile, as long as I’ve reached out to Kristina Chambers on this situation, I figured I’d ask her what she expects from ESPN’s leg of this year’s Sprint Cup coverage, which bows July 29 in Indianapolis, and includes all ten “Chase” races starting with the GEICO 400 in Chicago on September 16. The NASCAR talent on the Worldwide Leader will be virtually the same as last year, with Ray Evernham returning after a one-year hiatus.
“ESPN has been moving in the right direction with their NASCAR coverage,” Chambers commented. “I expect them to continue moving forward, and for them to learn from TNT’s mistakes and have more race coverage, as far as the race is concerned.”
Like most NASCAR viewers, Chambers was not pleased with TNT’s coverage this year. Their airing of the Quaker State 400 proved to be the fork in the mashed potatoes for her.
I can’t help but wonder if Brian France is going to be wishing that TNT would be “a better partner” during the offseason.
Anyway, their “six-pack” of NASCAR races comes to a merciful end on Sunday with the Lenox Tools 301.
“I do look forward to seeing Allen Bestwick in the booth,” said Chambers of the ESPN announcer, who has been calling Sprint Cup races on the network since last year. “I can’t say I am overly thrilled with the rest of the broadcast team, but it will beat the hell out of listening to Kyle Petty.”
Be sure to hear Kristina’s take on the final TNT NASCAR race of the season – as well as the Harvick/Cope kerfuffel – this Monday night on “Slicks & Sticks” on SportsRantz Radio.