It all started last month during the Cup Series night race at Bristol. Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott had several on-track incidents late in the race that spilled over into face-to-face confrontations on pit road and in the garage area. It was all the talk in NASCAR circles. The following week, the 2014 Cup Series champion stoked the flames when he took a shot at the current champion, likening the driver’s behavior to that of his nine-year-old son.
That was the last time either one spoke about the ongoing feud. On Sunday, Harvick let his actions do the talking, deliberately dumping Elliott late in the race, damaging his car and his chances of advancing in the playoffs. Interestingly, it was the Stewart-Haas Racing driver who crashed into the wall and out of the playoffs a short time later. Immediately after the crash, Elliott’s spotter fired a shot at Harvick. However, it paled in comparison to what the Hendrick Motorsports driver had to say after the race.
Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott feud starts at Bristol
Since those final laps at Bristol, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott have provided NASCAR fans with a lot of entertainment and debate. The main question — would Harvick follow through and retaliate like he said he would during the confrontation in the garage at Bristol?
Before the race the following week at Las Vegas, Harvick made it clear that he was not finished with the conflict, making a point to call out Elliott’s behavior from the incident, even suggesting it was similar to that of his nine-year-old son.
Nothing happened during the race in Vegas or last week at Talladega. Some began to question whether Harvick was all talk. Others suggested he might be waiting for the perfect time to strike, like, maybe a playoff elimination race at the Charlotte Roval.
Harvick wrecks Elliott in Stage 3 at Charlotte Roval and then crashes himself
On Sunday at the Roval, Harvick answered all the questions early in Stage 3, when he deliberately hit the No. 9 in the left rear, sending him into the wall, causing severe damage to his car and playoff hopes, dropping him below the cutline.
Elliott and his team had no intentions of letting the incident go without a response as they soon revealed their plan over the radio.
“If we get a chance we can wreck him. It’ll lock us in,” crew chief Alan Gustafson suggested.
“Don’t you worry,” Elliott said.
“Oh, it’s gonna happen,” his spotter Eddie D’Hondt said.
After a couple of cautions and the resulting pit stop cycles, Harvick sat in 12th. Elliott lurked back in 17th. On a restart with 14 laps to go, Elliott began to close the gap. With 11 laps to go, the No. 9 was within a couple of car lengths when the No. 4 car locked up the brakes and smashed into the wall, ending his day and playoff chances.
“Karma,” D’Hondt said within seconds of the crash.
“Yes it is,” the driver replied.
Elliott fires brutal shot at Harvick after race
Interestingly, like Bristol, Kyle Larson won the race, but he wasn’t the main storyline. NBC interviewed both drivers after the race to get their thoughts on what happened on the track.
“Sometimes real life teaches you good lessons,” Harvick replied when asked if what he did to Elliott was retaliation for Bristol. He walked off when asked if the drivers were even.
The cameras caught up with Elliott seconds later, and Dave Burns pointedly asked what was going on with Harvick.
“I’m not sure, but I’m really proud of our team,” Elliott said. “Just proud. Our Napa team did a really good job of fixing this thing. It’s destroyed. I think we finished 12th. Our team has a lot of fight and I’m just super proud of that. As far as Kevin goes, I just want to wish them a merry offseason and a happy Christmas.”
Elliott got the last word on and off the track on Sunday at the Charlotte Roval. Now he moves on to the next round of the playoffs starting next week at Texas while Harvick can only wonder what might have been.