Drama in the NASCAR playoff race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course
Several weeks ago, Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick were battling for the lead at Bristol Motor Speedway. In the closing laps of stage three, they raced through lap traffic.
Watch the Kevin Harvick vs Chase Elliott crash video below.
As they went three wide into turn one, Harvick got loose on the inside. He chased it up the banking and clipped Elliott which caused a flat tire.
Elliott changed his tires under green. He re-entered right behind Harvick. He doored him on the way by putting him just 2 laps down instead of 3.
From there, Elliott was a headache for race leader Kevin Harvick. Elliott, with much fresher tires was dogging his pace. He stayed just ahead of the nose of Harvick, putting Harvick in dirty air.
For the next 30 laps, Harvick was forced to search around the race track. He used up his tires in the process. Kyle Larson, teammate to Elliott closed on both of them. With just a handful of laps remaining, Larson slid Harvick for the lead in turn three. They rubbed doors in turn four and Harvick gets into his bumper into turn one but Larson held onto it.
As Larson drove to victory lane, Harvick found Elliott. He rode his bumper all the way down the pit lane. The two drivers then engaged in a heated yelling match on the pit lane.
Kevin Harvick vs Chase Elliott
Today, the NASCAR Cup Series unloaded in Charlotte, North Carolina. The field too on the 17-turn ROVAL road course.
Kevin Harvick entered the ROVAL under the playoff cut line. Elliott entered ahead of the cut line.
In the final lap of stage two, Chase Elliott dove to the inside of Kevin Harvick into turn one for 2nd. Harvick then crossed in behind him and beat on his bumper. Both drivers finished the stage in 2nd and 3rd.
Moments later, on lap 55 in stage three, Harvick drove into the rear bumper of Elliott into turn 7. Elliott’s machine jumped sideways, he stood on the gas but still backed it into the wall.
In turn 8, it appeared that Elliott tried to turn left and knock Harvick. However, he missed and clipped Cole Custer in the process.
Elliott’s rear decklid was knocked out. The crew went to work to make quick repairs under the caution. When they went back green, Elliott was able to meet minimum speed and remain in the race.
Following the contact, it bumped Harvick to the bubble on the cut line. Elliott was one position under the cut line.
No. 9 Team Radio
“If we get a chance we could wreck him, it will lock us in,” Elliott’s crew said over the radio.
“Don’t be worried,” Elliott responded.
“Oh, it’s going to happen,” the No. 9 spotter confirmed.
With 23 to go, Chase Elliott’s rear bumper cover blew off. It brought out a caution. At this time, both drivers sat under the playoff cut line. It’s a caution he needed as the team went to work on further repairs.
Kevin Harvick crashes himself
With 11 laps to go at the ROVAL, Elliott was now climbing through the field. Harvick sat just +1 on the playoff cutline. However, was closing on Harvick as they raced inside the top 15. But, it was about to go wrong for Harvick.
As Elliott closed to within a car length of Harvick into turn one, Harvick drove it deep, likely expecting payback. Instead, Harvick completely locked up the front wheels and drove it straight into the tire barrier.
Smoke billowed from Harvick’s machine with a fire under the hood.
“Just locked the tire up and went straight,” Harvick said over the radio to his crew.
Harvick climbed from his car, done for the day. The fans erupted with cheers.
Elliott’s crew commented on the radio, “Karma.”
“Yes sir it is,” Elliott responded.
After the crash, Harvick was eliminated from the 2021 NASCAR Playoffs. Chase Elliott hung on and he advances into the round of 8.
Kevin Harvick: Post-Race Interview (ROVAL)
“I just pushed it too hard,” Harvick told NBC Sports after the race.
“I got the tire locked up and I couldn’t stop it. Felt like I needed to go, to get a couple spots back that I’d lost. I got the left front locked up and couldn’t get into the turn.”
Harvick was asked if the incident with the No. 9 was retaliation.
Harvick responded, “Sometimes, life teaches you good lessons.”
Chase Elliott: Post-Race Interview (ROVAL)
Elliott was asked what happened between him and Harvick.
“Not sure,” Elliott responded.
“Just really proud of our team. Our team did a really good job of fixing this thing. I mean, this thing’s destroyed. Our team has a lot of fight.”
“As far as Kevin goes, I just want to wish them a merry off-season and a happy Christmas.”
“My opinion’s certainly not changing [of Harvick]. But, it’s all good. Just glad we’re moving on.”
“For us, we’re just eyes forward and exciting to be moving on. That’s the big picture and really all that matters. We’ll keep fighting and see where we end up.”
“Fortunately, it was early enough in the race where we were able to fix it. We could have easily not fixed it to the proper standard and had something break or had a tire rub. Everyone just did a really good job today.”
Elliott concluded, “I thought we had a shot to win. Obviously, that didn’t happen. In the grand scheme, moving on’s the most important part. Our season’s still alive. I’m pumped.”