SPEEDWAY, Ind. â âMeet me in Temecula,â NASCAR-style.
Tempers flared during NASCAR Xfinity Series final practice Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Mike Harmon and Michael Annett collided as Harmon was attempting to come down pit road â sending Annettâs bumper flying through the air.
Annett then confronted Harmon in the garage area, sticking his head in the window of the No. 74 Chevrolet to talk things over before a fiery interview on NBCSN in which he said he was âarguing with an idiot.â
Harmon later saw the video, prompting perhaps the tweet of the year.
I apologized as a team but you took it to a whole new level when a cameras in your face. Come bring your punk ass down to Applebeeâs on Crawford Road and call me an idiot to my face @MichaelAnnett
â MHR Racing (@MhrRacing) September 6, 2019
Harmon felt the name-calling was unnecessary and told NASCAR.com on Saturday morning that he apologized profusely and took full responsibility for the incident.
Hereâs his take on the contact itself:
âChristopher Bell got under me and I got out of the groove, so it kills your lap, so instead of driving two-and-a-half miles, I pitted and the spotter said âthatâs clearâ and clear is clear to me, so I committed. Then the 1 (of Annett) came by. It actually kind of scared me; I wasnât expecting him or anybody to be there. I thought âAw, man.â I felt terrible about it.â
And the ensuing confrontation in his garage stall:
âHe came over hollering with the F word. What the eff this, and all that kind of stuff. I said, âMan, look, itâs my fault, OK? I apologize. You think Iâd tear your car up and my car up on purpose in practice? Thatâs crazy.â
âI apologized to the man, told him what happened and then he wanted to take it to another level, acting disrespectful and calling me names and that kind of stuff, and I donât appreciate that. Iâm not going to stand for it. I messed up, and I manned up and said I messed up. Itâs really hard to spot here. Itâs hard to see. It was a mistake, weâre human.â
Harmon said that he and Annett have ânever had any problem beforeâ and that he recognizes the JR Motorsports driver is in faster equipment. He says he moves over for him every week and tries not to get in his way.
But itâs a two-way street.
âThe deal is, I respect everybody and I demand respect. I was busy working on my car âtil the garage closed and I saw the video where he called me an idiot and said I didnât belong out there, I donât take that. I had to do something. Iâm not going to look like a wimp,â Harmon said. âI know we set examples for people and got kids watching and all that, but you canât roll over, you know? This country wasnât built that way and racing wasnât built that way. Iâm not going to put up with it. You might be able to outrun me (on the track), but once we get out of the cars itâs man-to-man.â
Annett didnât make the drive over to Temecula Applebeeâs, and itâs probably a good thing for all parties involved that he didnât.
âI guess (if he did) weâd probably have been taken to jail by the time we got through, because if he comes over running his mouth, Iâm going to close it for him,â Harmon said. âIâve had enough. Heâd do me one, but itâd be on, I can tell you that.
âI was pretty sure he wasnât going to show up. Itâs easy to go in front of a camera and run your mouth but do it face-to-face, man-to-man. Thatâs what this is about. I doubt (weâll have a face-to-face). If he knows whatâs good for him, we wonât.â