Pending breakup isn't slowing down Kevin Harvick

CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress are NASCAR's odd couple. Their relationship would be "complicated," if they were using Facebook terms.

Harvick has filed for divorce, and is ready to see other people, but not quite yet.

Somehow it's all working out. Witness the Budweiser-infused victory celebration late Sunday night, when Harvick rallied to score his second Sprint Cup victory of the season at the Coca-Cola 600 on a bizarre night we shall label "Cablegate."

"Happy" Harvick is indeed living up to his nickname. He is in seventh place in the Chase standings, with two victories. It's a unusual resume for a lame-duck driver. Harvick will leave Richard Childress Racing this season to join his buddy Tony Stewart on his team in 2014. Ironically enough, the Stewart-Hass Racing team has struggled this season, while Harvick remains a solid contender for the title.

A reporter zinged Stewart's team in the post-race press conference, asking "You've won two of the last four races. Stewart-Haas is running like a bag of [bleep]. Are you regretting the decision you made?"

Harvick laughed heartily before replying: "You look at what we're doing and we're focused on this year. We go out and race week to week, do the things that we do to try to win races, win a championship. Whatever happens in the future, we'll work on some other time. Right now we're working on winning next week's race, no matter who is running like a bag of [bleep]."

It's a tribute to the professionalism of Harvick, Childress and crew chief Gil Martin that there are no rumblings in the pits other than the roar of the engine in Harvick's No. 29 Chevy.

Harvick, on two fresh tires, easily overtook Kasey Kahne on a late, 11-lap restart after Kahne's crew chief, Kenny Francis, chose not to pit when a caution came out late in the race. Kahne was second, followed by Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin.

It was a crushing night for Kahne, who had the best car in the field, leading 156 laps.

"We had a great car from the top of the green," Kahne said. "It was definitely our race to lose. We thought some of the guys would stay out and that would be a big enough buffer. It didn't happen. That was the end of our race."

The first quarter of it was something else, too.

An overhead TV camera cable snapped, forcing race officials to stop the race for nearly a half-hour to clean up the debris and allow pit crews to fix the damage on some cars.

The cable -- set up by Fox Sports -- fell over the grandstands in Turn 4, injuring 10 fans, including three who were transported to an area hospital for further evaluation before being released.

Three drivers also took a hit, including Kyle Busch, who was leading the race after 123 laps when the cable tore into his right fender. The cars of Mark Martin and Marcos Ambrose also suffered damage.

"I've never seen anything like it," Kahne said. "I came around Turn 4, saw it wrapped around Kyle's car, hit mine. I thought I was seeing things, there's no way there could be a cable on the racetrack."

NASCAR and Fox officials will discuss the incident before deciding whether to use the overhead camera technology again. It most likely would come into play again for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in July.

A snapshot of the Harvick-Childress relationship would present no such convoluted circumstances.

"You know, we're in a business world," Childress said. "In a business world things happen, changes happen. You do everything you can in the business world. Like I told Kevin, I wish him the best of luck at the end of the year, but right now we got a job in front of us."

Read George Diaz's blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/enfuego or email him at gdiaz@orlandosentinel.com

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