MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Kevin Harvick apologized before Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway for comments about team owner Richard Childress' grandsons.
Harvick lashed out at Ty Dillon and older brother, Austin, following Saturday's Truck Series race. Contact with Ty Dillon with 12 laps remaining knocked Harvick out of the race while Harvick was running second.
Harvick is leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season, and said after the wreck he's leaving the organization "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."
Speaking to FOX Sports 1 before the Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Harvick apologized.
"There was just a lot of emotion involved," Harvick said. "I hate it for everybody at RCR. You go back and look at the things that happened, and sometimes you regret the things that you say for sure. Yesterday was definitely one of them.
"I hate it for my guys, and everybody working on the cars. Obviously, when those emotional situations come about, you say things that you really don't want to say. I just want to apologize to all of those guys, work hard today and try and do everything we can to win the race."
Harvick was tied for third in the Sprint Cup standings headed into Sunday's race at Martinsville, one of four events remaining with Childress. He's moving to Stewart-Haas Racing next season — two of his major sponsors are following him — and Childress is expected to promote Austin Dillon to the Cup Series.
Following the on-track incident with Ty Dillon, a member of Dillon's crew threw a rubber mallet at Harvick's truck when Harvick stopped in Dillon's pit stall.
The accident dropped Ty Dillon from second to third in the Truck Series standings. Childress, meanwhile, fiercely defended his grandsons Sunday in an interview with The Sporting News and USA Today.
"These aren't spoiled rich kids," Childress said. "These are hardworking young men that believe in what they're doing. They knew they've got to go out and prove themselves. They've got to race up front to keep a job."
Childress added he understood what happened on the track was a racing incident, but Harvick crossed a line with his personal attack on his grandsons.
"I'll never apologize for giving my grandsons an opportunity, just like the France family, the Earnhardt family, the Wood brothers. You go down the list of the people that have been given opportunities, all of them didn't make it," Childress said. "You've got to go out and earn what you've got, the opportunity in life to succeed. And these boys earned it."
Harvick said Sunday that he had not spoken with Ty Dillon.
"You never want to be in a situation like we're in, and obviously, the short-track racing and everything that happened, you try to do the right things, and yesterday I didn't do the right thing," Harvick said. "We just have to do what we have to do today to put ourselves in a position to be as successful as we can. It's best for all of us to just cool down and have a sensible conversation about things.
"I wish that's what I would have done yesterday. It's one of those situations that you don't want to be a part of, but I don't have anybody else to blame but myself."