Austin Dillon was on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday and was asked about his thoughts on Kevin Harvick’s comments last weekend at Martinsville.
To refresh, after an incident with Ty Dillon late in the Truck race, Harvick ran into Dillon under caution and Dillon chased him down and tried to wreck him. They ran a lap before entering pit road. Harvick stopped in Ty Dillon’s pit stall. A couple of Dillon’s crew members went to the door area and someone from the stall threw a rubber mallet before Harvick left the stall.
Thursday, NASCAR announced that one of Dillon’s crew members, Adam Brown had been indefinitely suspended for throwing the rubber mallet. Crew chief Paul Richmond was fined $10,000, NASCAR stating that a crew chief is responsible for actions by the crew.
After the incident, Harvick told Fox Sports 1: “The 3 (Ty Dillon) just dumped me. Exactly the reason why I’m leaving RCR because you’ve got those kids coming up and they’ve got no respect for what they do in this sport and they’ve had everything fed to them with a spoon. So, I cut him slack all day and, you know, he just dive-bombs me in there, dumps me. It’s a shame you’ve got to get taken out by some rich kid like that.”
Harvick then called the Dillon’s “punk-ass kids” in a comment to The Sporting News as he headed out of the infield area at Martinsville.
So, this brings us back to Austin Dillon, who had not spoken publicly about the comments until his appearance on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday. A transcript was posted on Austin Dillon’s Facebook page. Here’s what he said:
“For me, I come from a fortunate situation growing up in a family that is in racing,” Austin Dillon said. “My grandfather (Richard Childress) has given my brother and I both a great opportunity to go out and take advantage of those opportunities. If anybody out there doesn’t think that I should go after something that is in front of me, I don’t know what to say. I feel like this opportunity has been put in front of me, and I am very blessed. I want to go out there and prove myself. I’ve given it everything I’ve had from the very beginning – from dirt racing, bandoleros to legend cars, knowing the whole time that if you don’t have a sponsor you can’t get to the race track the next week and that’s something my grandfather has taught me each and every week.
“Kevin Harvick is somebody in my family that is a hero. He was a hero and probably still will be. During a tough time when RCR needed someone to step up, Kevin Harvick did. He kept RCR up front in NASCAR for a long time. I’ve learned a lot from him over the years, both good and bad. He’s a great race car driver. No one can not say that he’s a great race car driver. He’s done a lot to teach me about different tracks that we’ve gone to.
“It definitely hurts to hear those things from him. I watched the race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, and I thought it was hard racing. I thought Ty had a good truck, and I thought Harvick had a good truck. They got after it at a place like Martinsville and Ty was racing for points and thought like he needed to get to the next spot.
“Things are said in the heat of battle. I’ve learned that it’s better to forgive someone for what they’ve said. I’ve forgiven him already. It’s just tough. Going into this year I was thinking that Kevin Harvick was going to be a teammate of mine going into next year and that I was going to be able to learn from him. I wanted us to be able to work together so that we could win championships together at RCR.
“When we found out he was going to Stewart-Hass Racing, it hurt my feelings. I still knew, though, that we could do it at RCR. We’ve always been able to overcome things. I was going to go into this year, and still am, trying to learn as much as I could from him. I did and still thank him for everything he’s taught me and where I’m at today. My grandfather is the same way. He’s taught me a lot about the way to act and respect people.
“I forgive Kevin. It definitely hurts to hear some of those things that were said, but at the same time I wouldn’t have ever thought that those things would come out of his mouth because I’ve known him for a long time, played basketball with him, been over to his shop. I played basketball with him for 11 or 12 weeks and really got to know him. It sucks. It’s part of it. I feel like RCR has given Kevin Harvick everything they could to win a championship as far a team, as far as guys, the best pit crew we can put together.
“When he leaves he will know that we have given him every opportunity that we could as a company and as a family here at RCR to win. That’s all you can ask for as a driver. If he goes to Stewart-Hass Racing and finds what he needs, I’ll be happy for him and we’ll move on. I think the biggest thing is to forgive him, move on and learn from it. I’m going on to the next week and trying to win this week at Texas and trying to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship. I’m looking forward to the great things we have going on at RCR. We have a lot of positive things going on here. Right now I’m just happy as a person for everything that RCR has been able to give me and looking forward to trying to kick butt for years to come over here.”