Kevin Harvick vs. Denny Hamlin: It's over

September, 30, 2010

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- The monsoon that blew through the East Coast forced the cancelation of a long-driving contest between Kevin Harvick and the media who gathered Thursday at Chatmoss Country Club as a promotion for next month's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.

The contest to get Harvick to go in depth about his run-in with Denny Hamlin during Saturday's practice at Dover International Speedway was a wash as well.

"If you ask it 14 different ways, you'll probably get the same answer," Harvick said with a smile. "So write down the next one."

Harvick obviously is ready to put the incident -- he bumped Hamlin twice and then side-scraped him on the first lap of practice -- in his rearview mirror and focus on the Chase.

As far as he was concerned, the dust-up was over Tuesday when Hamlin said the two talked and made up, choosing to put their friendship and the Chase above what was said and done at Dover.

"Everybody saw what he said," Harvick said. "I think it's done."

That didn't stop us from trying to get more. We wanted to know if Harvick was trying to prove that the New Hampshire car of teammate Clint Bowyer could have been knocked out of tolerance by another car or a wrecker as the outspoken Hamlin downplayed after Richard Childress Racing said that would be its appeals case to the National Stock Car Racing Commission.

We wanted to know what Harvick was thinking when he sent the left front of his No. 29 car into the right rear of Hamlin's No. 11 seemingly without regard to how it might impact his position in the playoffs.

"I don't really remember what happened. Everything's handled, I believe," Harvick reiterated.

Harvick was much more concerned with going to Kansas and attempting to erase his 65-point deficit to Hamlin in the Chase standings. He was more concerned with helping Martinsville sell a few tickets.

Still, we tried. It was like a game, one you'll seldom win with someone as tight-lipped and mentally strong as Harvick.

I finally followed up on a tip that Harvick simply was standing up for Bowyer's crew chief, Shane Wilson, a good friend and the person who helped Harvick and Jeff Burton to 10 victories and the 2006 owner's championship in the Nationwide Series.

Harvick's reply: "Anytime you have a company or you have people, there's a lot of things you feel good about being a part of. Sometimes you have to do what you think is right for the company or the people. Our team didn't really have anything to do with it, to tell you the truth. To be drug into it was probably the switch that ignited the fire and the things that happened."

So this issue is closed. Harvick and Hamlin are friends again and Harvick has the focus that enabled him to dominate the points in the first 26 races.

He's not worried about what happens with Bowyer and the appeal to overturn the 150-point suspension for his New Hampshire car being too high in the rear or the final appeal that likely will be heard next week.

"I really haven't talked to anybody at RCR about it," Harvick said. "I think everybody knew it was coming. I've been part of those appeals before and kind of know how they're going to go.

"Our team is on its own, doing its own thing. The 31 team [Burton] is kind of doing its own thing. As a company as a whole, we're doing our own thing and staying focused on the things that we can control."

Contest over.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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