NASCAR’s playoff Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway was promising close contact and high drama. It delivered on both fronts during and after the checkered flag. Kevin Harvick exchanged heated words with fan favorite Chase Elliott on pit road immediately following the race.
Elliott ran into the side of Harvick’s car while Elliott was running laps down and Harvick was racing in the lead. That move came on the heels of a green-flag pit stop Elliot was forced to make in the final stage for a flat tire, which went down after contact with Harvick as the two drivers battled for the first place spot. Harvick finished the race in second behind winner Kyle Larson, then marched straight up to Elliott after parking.
They spoke inches apart and exchanged a few shoves at their cars. Harvick slammed his helmet on the hood of his car. Elliott had his finger in Harvick’s face.
“It’s all Chase’s way or it’s no way,” Harvick told reporters. “And if he doesn’t get his way then he throws a fit.”
“He did the same thing earlier,” Harvick continued. “He let the 24 (William Byron) go by in the middle of the stage and then just rode around until the 5 (Larson) caught me and I was tight behind him and we wound up getting passed by the 5, so I just hate it for our guys.”
Kevin Harvick’s post-race comments on the incident with Chase Elliott before entering Elliott’s hauler pic.twitter.com/bgZ4jO3m0a
— Alex Andrejev (@AndrejevAlex) September 19, 2021
Harvick said that he told Elliott he wanted to “rip his frickin’ head off” when they first spoke, and earlier called the move “chickensh--.”
Elliott expressed similar frustration with Harvick saying on NBCSN that “it’s something he does all the time” of the maneuver that earned Elliott’s ire.
“He runs into your left side constantly at other tracks,” Elliott said. “And sometimes it does cut down your left side. Other times it didn’t, or it doesn’t. He did it to me at Darlington a few weeks ago cause he was tired of racing with me, and whether he did it on purpose, it doesn’t matter. At some point you’ve gotta draw the line.”
“I don’t care who he is or how long he’s been doing it,” Elliott continued. “I’m gonna stand up for myself and my team and we’ll go on down the road.”
The drivers spoke again closely for a long period between haulers in the infield, but after media members gathered to watch the exchange, they then both entered Elliott’s hauler.
Elliott and Harvick both advanced to the next round of the playoffs mid-race based on points. The two drivers also received the loudest cheers during driver introductions in front of the crowd at the Bristol, Tenn. short track. A full recap of the race and playoff driver standings can be found here.
The next Cup race, the first in the Round of 12, is Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.
NASCAR at Bristol race results
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.