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Kevin Harvick is in his 23rd and final year in the NASCAR Cup Series. He’s been known throughout his career to lose his temper on occasion, which is how he ironically earned the nickname “Happy.”

Several years ago, the rainy inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas brought out the angry side of the Stewart-Haas Racing driver, who was not pleased that the competitors were subjected to race in such treacherous conditions. This past Sunday in Texas, the weather was nice, but that didn’t prevent the 47-year-old from overheating late in the race and going off on the team radio, directing his profanity-laced tirade at longtime crew chief Rodney Childers

Kevin Harvick goes ballistic in first year at COTA

Flash back a couple of years ago to the first-ever race on the 3.41-mile track outside of Austin. Monsoonal conditions were the dominant storyline throughout the day, with Chase Elliott eventually winning a rain-shortened race.

However, before the No. 9 team made it to Victory Lane, there were numerous accidents due to lack of visibility, including a violent collision between Harvick’s SHR teammate Cole Custer, who torpedoed an unsuspecting Martin Truex Jr. at a high rate of speed, with the No. 41 catching on fire and forcing the driver to make a quick escape.

Harvick was also involved in a similar incident where he got run over from behind, which ended his day. Afterward, the 2014 Cup champion didn’t hide his anger with the conditions.

“It’s the most unsafe thing I’ve ever done in a race car by a lot,” Harvick said. “I let off and the guy behind me hit me wide-open because he never saw me. It’s unbelievable that we’re out there doing what we’re doing because we’re in racecars that aren’t made to do this, and if you can’t see going down the straightaway, it’s absolutely not safe. Not even close.

“We don’t have any business being out in the rain, period. All I can say is this is the worst decision that we’ve ever made in our sport that I’ve been a part of, and I’ve never felt more unsafe in my whole racing career, period.”

Harvick cusses at crew chief Rodney Childers this year

Kevin Harvick wasn’t happy heading into the race at COTA on Sunday after qualifying 29th. However, he quickly made up ground early in the race and was scored 15th at the conclusion of Stage 1.

Second stage, more of the same, as the No. 4 made its way forward and earned seven points after finishing fourth in the segment. 

It was in the final stage that things got tricky with teams trying to figure out the best strategy to victory. At one point, there was concern among numerous teams that they would be short on fuel. And that’s when Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers got into a heated exchange. 

“The 22 will not make it for sure,” Childers said over the team radio about the situation. “We were the best one.”

“Can’t help it, we’re getting passed,” spotter Tim Fedewa responded. 

“That’s what I’m trying to get at,” the crew chief replied. “We got to go.”

“What the f*** you want me to do? I’m going as fast as I can,” an angry Harvick said.

“I don’t even know how I can be more clear,” Childers told his driver.

“Just don’t f****** say it right now. Just shut the f*** up.” 

Fit the theme of hot tempers in Texas

Kevin Harvick at COTA
Kevin Harvick drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on March 24, 2023. | Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Harvick and Childers have been together since 2014, the year the driver won his only championship. They’ve enjoyed the taste of victory together 37 times. Those words in the heat of battle in Texas were just that, words. Neither one of them took it personally. 

Interestingly, their fiery confrontation fit perfectly with the overall theme of the Austin race, with warm temperatures and even hotter tempers. Numerous drivers were unhappy after the race due to the chaos that played out in the three overtime restarts, including third-place finisher Alex Bowman calling the racing “dumb” and “embarrassing.”

Harvick didn’t talk to the media after the race, but it’s safe to assume, based on his in-race interaction with Childers, he wasn’t in the greatest of moods after finishing 13th.

The Happy Farewell Tour heads to Richmond this weekend.

For the latest breaking news and information about NASCAR’s three national series, check out @kdsportswriter on Twitter.


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