Kevin Harvick Fires Another Shot at Chase Elliott After Texas and Proves the Reigning Champion Is Living Rent-Free in His Head
NASCAR warned Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott this past week if their feud continued on the track, there would be serious consequences. There were no incidents at Texas. At least not on the track. After the race, the 2014 Cup Series champion fired a shot at the reigning champ and proved that Elliott is still living rent-free in his head.
Kevin Harvick compares Chase Elliott to his young son
It all started a month ago at Bristol when Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott had several on-track incidents that spilled over into a pair of heated discussions after the race and concluded with Harvick threatening retaliation. The following week at Las Vegas, nothing happened on the track, but both drivers talked about the previous week’s incident.
“I’ve been in a few dust-ups or whatever,” Elliott said on the NBC prerace show. “I don’t know if it’s caring less or just looking at the things that are going to make us go faster as a team or whatever it may be, or maybe the combination of the two. My eyes have been forward better than they’ve ever been and I’m looking forward to it.
“Everybody is talking. That’s good. My sponsors, Napa, Hooters last week, appreciated it. Appreciate all the opinions; just don’t forget to tag me. Whether good or bad just don’t forget to tag me. We’ll appreciate the engagement either way.”
Harvick added a little fuel to the fire in his prerace remarks when he compared Elliott’s behavior the week before to that of his 9-year-old son Keelan.
“It was like I was talking. It’s identical, like it’s 100% the exact same scenario. They get hung up on one thing, and you can’t speak to them about the broader picture of how the whole thing works,” Harvick said. “It was like speaking to a nine-year-old. So I have good experience with it. Because that’s a daily process. Day-in, day-out process.”
Kevin Harvick wrecks Chase Elliott and then himself
After Las Vegas, there were no on-track incidents or words by either driver at Talladega. At the Charlotte Roval, Harvick let his actions do the talking early in Stage 3 and dumped Elliott. Despite heavy damage to the back end, the No. 9 team managed to patch together the car and keep it competitive.
In a dramatic plot twist, Elliott was closing in on Harvick late in the race and got within a couple of car lengths when the No. 4 locked up his brakes and ran his car straight into the wall, knocking himself out of the race and the playoffs. It appeared the pressure of a fast-approaching Elliott had Harvick mirror-watching, and he dumped himself in ironic fashion.
The Stewart-Haas driver admitted during his postrace comments that the move was payback for Bristol. Elliott responded to the incident by wishing Harvick a “merry offseason and a happy Christmas.”
While it’s apparent the drivers won’t be sending each other Christmas cards this year, NASCAR wasn’t going to wait until the holidays to find out. The organization had seen enough and hosted a call with both drivers. Elliott’s crew chief Alan Gustafson said NASCAR was clear in its expectations moving forward.
“The message that NASCAR has delivered is they tried to do the best job they could do in allowing it to happen, and they’re over it,” Gustafson said. “Yeah, whatever way you want to look at it from there, but I think I commend them for allowing us to race, but I think they’ve had enough. They made that pretty clear.”
Fires another shot at Elliott after Texas
After the latest chapter at the Roval, both drivers knew they would be asked about it this week in Texas. During the NBC prerace show, Elliott was asked about last week’s incident with Harvick, and he deftly deflected and focused on his team’s effort and keeping the eyes on the prize.
“I’m just proud of our team for fighting last week,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. “I’m not sure there’s many teams in the garage that could have kept their minds right and fixed that car back. I’m still blown away by what they were able to do. Just really proud of our group. Feel like we’ve been able to keep our eyes and focus where it needs to be, which is getting to Phoenix and trying to win another championship. That’s where our head is.”
After the race, Jeff Gluck of The Athletic caught up with Harvick and asked him his thoughts on what happened in the last week and the call with NASCAR. Interestingly, he focused on Elliott.
“I’m still baffled that he’s worried about me,” Harvick said. “I had no chance to win a championship. Looks like he should figure out how to take the same car and run as fast as the 5.”
While Harvick was firing a shot by suggesting Elliott’s performance should match that of his HMS teammate Kyle Larson, the statement is more of an indictment on the mindset of the 45-year-old Stewart-Haas driver than anything else.
Just a few short weeks ago he suggested that Elliott seemed to be acting like his young son and was hung up on one thing and unable to see the big picture. Ironically, those words now more accurately describe him and his focus on Elliott.
There’s a reason Chase Elliott got wrecked yet impressively managed to recover and is now in the Round of 8 in the playoffs and vying for a championship while Kevin Harvick is not.