A NASCAR driver and a squirrel nearly came wheel to face during the Oral-B USA 500 competition at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday. According to NewsOXY, NASCAR racer Kevin Harvick was leading the race, traveling 175 mph when he saw the animal on the track. When Harvick first saw the animal, he thought it was a cat, and he was heard over the radio saying, “I almost hit a cat! A cat just ran right in front of me!” However, it wasn’t a cat at all.
As the site points out, trying to dodge an animal on the racetrack could be a bad idea. Swerving out of the way could cause a driver to lose control of his car, and that could lead to an accident. “It’s the kind of thing that can cause an accident had the driver when turning the wheel to avoid the squirrel.” Harvick, however, was able to pass the animal and continue on with the race, though he didn’t have much success in the following laps.
The NASCAR driver’s squirrel incident did not cause Harvick to lose the race, but the distraction could have caused him to lose focus. According to Sporting News, Harvick was looking good for more than half of the race, but he ended up in last place.
“Harvick led 195 of 335 laps in the Oral-B 500 but finished 19th, the last driver on the lead lap, after a wreck on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.”
Although it is unclear which lap the squirrel decided to witness the race up close and personal, if it was around the time that Harvick wrecked, his concentration could have been toast. Harvick bumped Paul Menard, but the second time his car was forced into the wall. Despite being ahead in over 1,000 laps this year, Harvick has only had two NASCAR victories. He says that he did the best he could given the circumstances.
“You just have to ride through it. You do the best that you can. You can’t control the circumstances like tonight. It’s just unfortunate for everybody … that everything went the way it did. But what do you do?”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Kasey Kahne won Sunday’s race.
“Kasey Kahne took the checkered flag, with Matt Kenseth right behind him in second place, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Carl Edwards round out the top five drivers.”
Apparently, the squirrel on the NASCAR track didn’t affect any other drivers.
[Photo courtesy of eCanada Now]