Speaking on Sirius XM Radio on Monday, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell says Kevin Harvick will not be penalized for hitting Jimmie Johnson following the Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
“That is emotion coming out when the stakes are really high in the Chase,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve got a reigning champion who finds himself in a tough spot … really needing to win (to advance), so you understand the frustration. You don’t like to see what happened, but from our standpoint that’s just pure emotion when the stakes are high and knowing how important it is to go out and win a championship.”
During Sunday’s race, Harvick had a left rear tire go flat and hit the wall at lap 139, following contact with Johnson on a lap 135 restart. For the restart, Harvick would restart 2nd on the outside, with Johnson third and Joey Logano fifth. Logano would push Johnson on the restart, causing Johnson to go below the yellow line. Johnson would then move up the track to get back in line, getting into Harvick and pushing him up.
Following the event, Johnson went to talk to Harvick post-race, with Harvick giving him a shove. Harvick would try to get another shot in, though was held by a team member.