Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth hoping ambulance service improves

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The ambulance that stopped at the entrance to pit road on Saturday wasn't the first time NASCAR Cup drivers have had an issue with an ambulance this year.

Former Cup champions Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth both acknowledged that they have had less-than-optimal rides in ambulances this year.

"Everybody is doing a great job when they get to the cars, but we still have some issues of getting the ambulances and things from several drivers to the infield care center without getting lost," Harvick said Wednesday during the NASCAR playoffs media day.

"And that's been an issue for not only myself, twice, but several other drivers as they've had their trips to the infield care center."

On Saturday night at Richmond, an ambulance stopped at the entrance to pit road. Kenseth ran into the back of Clint Bowyer as part of the logjam it created, knocking Kenseth out of the race and nearly keeping him out of the playoffs.

"[Getting] the chase truck and the ambulance to the accident scene as soon as possible when you know it's a major impact is important, and I know they are continuously working to try to make that better, but the ambulances need to know where they're going," Harvick said.

Kenseth has had several wrecks this year, and he indicated he has had issues on two of his ambulance rides.

"At the spring Richmond race, I was driving around the infield for about five minutes with him and he was lost and couldn't find the care center," Kenseth said. "So thankfully, I wasn't bleeding to death.

"The other one was after California or something like that, he drove so recklessly, it threw me right off the bench and I almost hit my head in the ambulance."

Harvick had NASCAR president Brent Dewar on his weekly SiriusXM NASCAR channel show on Tuesday, and Harvick said Wednesday he felt NASCAR is taking the situation seriously.

"The fact that everybody was just like, 'Look, we had some issues, we have to move forward and fix these things,'" Harvick said, "And you can't just move on -- you have to move on, but you can't just move on.

"You have to address the problem, so, to me, that's the sign of immediate reaction, and it sounds like that's the direction that they're heading."

NASCAR, which hired American Medical Response this year to provide a small group of doctors who rotate going to NASCAR races to provide more consistent care, typically relies on the racetracks to provide ambulances and wreckers. NASCAR dispatches them, and many of the safety workers do several races a year. Many also attend an annual NASCAR summit in January.

"The follow-up discussions that centered around the ambulance issue at Richmond went well beyond where it parked and the procedure that led us to that point," NASCAR said in a statement. "It was all-encompassing, and we'll continue to work with the tracks and safety teams to improve in every aspect of support.

"Safety is paramount, and it's something we work hard at all year long, from the season-opening summit to intensive weekly reviews of every incident response to continual training for crews. We hold ourselves to a very high standard of excellence."

Brad Keselowski apparently has a different standard, as indicated by his response when asked if he has concerns about ambulances getting delayed while driving to the care center.

"My expectations are very low already to begin with," Keselowski said with a laugh. "I'm not all that worried about it.

"Our thoughts are just make the car right so you don't have to worry about it."