By Jared Turner
The bad blood that has long existed between Kevin Harvick and the Dillon brothers lingers on. Remember the run-in between Harvick and Ty Dillon three years ago that prompted Harvick to level a “silver spoon” accusation against both Dillon boys – Ty and older brother Austin, the grandsons of legendary team owner Richard Childress? At the time, Harvick was a lame-duck driver at Richard Childress Racing and took issue with Childress grooming his grandsons to eventually become full-time Sprint Cup drivers for the organization (Austin is currently in his third year as a full-time Cup driver for RCR; Ty is in his third year as a full-time XFINITY Series driver for this grandfather’s company). So when Harvick wrecked Austin Dillon on Sunday night at Texas, the elder Dillon brother not surprisingly took a less-than-veiled shot at the 2014 Sprint Cup champion, quipping that Harvick “didn’t like it that the silver-spoon kid was out-running him tonight.” While Harvick was apologetic about the contact with Dillon, Dillon’s crew chief, Slugger Labbe, suggested that payback is in order. If Austin does indeed decide to settle a score with Harvick this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, it could come at a high price for Harvick – who enters the weekend as an overwhelming favorite to win and in all likelihood needs to win to advance. Dillon, who was eliminated from title contention in the Round of 12, has far less to lose at Phoenix than Harvick, so retaliation is well-within the realm of possibility. Just look at what Matt Kenseth did to Joey Logano in last year’s Chase. Sprint Cup drivers typically have a hard time moving past perceived injustices from fellow competitors. And the feud between Harvick and the Dillons is of an extremely personal nature. Stay tuned – this could get really ugly really quickly.