Chase Elliott seemingly made things hard on Kevin Harvick throughout the final few laps at Bristol Motor Speedway, and the NASCAR Cup Series veteran didn’t appreciate it. Harvick had choice words for Elliott, also mentioning over the PA system he didn’t care if the fans booed, and slammed his helmet on the roof of his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang.
Harvick’s displeasure came from being four laps away from potentially winning for the first time this season. He was passed by Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kyle Larson, as Elliott ran in front of Harvick while multiple laps down. The two collided with 34 laps to go while racing for the lead, which sent Elliott to pit road with a flat tire.
An upset Elliott rejoined the race and let Harvick know he didn’t like how the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion had raced him. Harvick finished second, and Elliott ended up three laps down in 25th position.
“I told him it was kind of a chicken (expletive) move that he did there at the end,” Harvick said. “We’re racing for the frickin’ win at Bristol. We’re three-wide in the middle, and he throws a temper tantrum. I was just trying to get the lead and race him hard. Then he pulls up in front of me and just sits there until I lose the whole lead.
“I just hate it for our Subway Ford Mustang team to lose a race like that. I watched him let the 24 [William Byron] go by, and then anytime you run into him, it’s a problem. They can boo all they want. I don’t care.”
The two came to pit road in close quarters and confronted each other after climbing from their cars. Harvick said they had barely rubbed on the track to cut down Elliott’s tire.
“I told him I wanted to rip his freaking head off,” Harvick said of their conversation.
The pair had a second discussion near the team haulers, where they eventually continued to chat inside Elliott’s hauler.
“It’s all Chase’s way or it’s no way, and if he doesn’t get his way, then he throws a fit,” Harvick said. “He did the same thing earlier. 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 car.”
The boys are talking. The boys are shoving.
IT'S BRISTOL BABY. pic.twitter.com/EIghd7Sc8s
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 19, 2021
Elliott led three times for the second-most laps Saturday night, 129. The defending series champion said Harvick has a habit of running into the side of other drivers, and sometimes like Bristol, it ends up being costly.
“He did it to me at Darlington a few weeks ago because he was tired of racing with me,” Elliott said. “Whether he did it on purpose, it doesn’t matter. At some point, you’ve got to draw the line. I don’t care who he is or how long he’s been doing it. I’m going to stand up for myself and my team, and we’ll go on down the road.”
Elliott did not admit to intentionally holding up Harvick or racing him differently in the closing laps.
“I just ran my line,” Elliott said. “I’m super happy for Kyle [Larson]. He’s had a heck of a year. He’s a good dude and a great race car driver. He deserves the accomplishments and deserves the success. I’m happy for him and happy for Team Hendrick. I wish I could have gotten our Hooters Chevrolet in Victory Lane, but we’ll try again next week.”
Before their on-track incident, both Harvick and Elliott locked up spots for the second round of the playoffs.