Kevin Harvick was going to get his revenge on Chase Elliott, believing someplace and in some way, he’d even the rating after Elliott price him a win final month.
When Harvick delivered his payback, it almost knocked the reigning NASCAR champion out of the playoffs. However karma then flipped on The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Harvick wrecked himself proper out of the playoffs for the earliest elimination of his profession when he crashed into the wall as Elliott closed on his bumper.
With the stakes so excessive and the Cup title on the road over the ultimate 4 weeks of the season, is it time for NASCAR to intervene?
Rick Hendrick thought so after a heartburn-inducing Sunday on the racetrack situated 5 minutes from race workforce headquarters.
“I believe (NASCAR is) the one ones that may actually cease it,” Hendrick stated. “I hope they do as a result of the crew chiefs and everyone can do the perfect they’ll, however it’s as much as the drivers themselves. I’ve been on this state of affairs earlier than. NASCAR can deal with it.”
The boss watched for 109 laps because the 4 Hendrick Motorsports drivers dipped up and down beneath the playoff elimination cutline. Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman had early electrical points that might have ruined their races, and when Elliott was almost sabotaged by a vengeful Harvick, Hendrick had seen sufficient.
“It appeared like Chase may very well be achieved and out of the playoffs. It was a number of heated emotions,” Hendrick stated. “Harvick wrecked himself, I suppose. I hope it’s over. We don’t need to race that method. We need to simply race. That’s not our fashion.
“If a man is healthier than you, he wins. Simply do your job. If you happen to get beat, you get beat. It by no means feels good to push any person out of the best way. Slightly rubbing or one thing, that’s OK. However simply to wreck any person? That’s not good.”
n the top, Larson recovered after each the battery and alternator belt had been modified in his Chevrolet to win for the seventh time this season and lead Elliott into the third spherical of the playoffs. Bowman and William Byron had been eradicated on a day of combined outcomes for the Hendrick group.
It took a white-knuckled end by Elliott, who deep down knew he had one coming from Harvick as revenge for holding Harvick up and costing him the win at Bristol within the first spherical of the playoffs. The 2 argued after the race and Harvick vowed to make it troublesome on Elliott the remainder of the 12 months.
However he waited till The Roval, a 17-turn hybrid highway course/oval by which contact is widespread and drivers run into each other sufficient that Harvick might perhaps make it look clear. Solely nobody thought he’d made a mistake across the midway mark when he turned Elliott into the wall.
Harvick knew precisely what he was doing when he tried to finish Elliott’s bid for back-to-back titles.
“You bear in mind Bristol,” Harvick stated when requested about his intent.
When Harvick was straight requested if it was deliberate, the driving force who has by no means backed down from a combat stated solely “generally actual life teaches you good classes.” Harvick walked away when requested if the feud with NASCAR’s hottest driver was now over.
The restoration required a measured response from the No. 9 workforce, which despatched Elliott again onto the monitor with the bumper flapping off the again of his Chevy and directions to wreck Harvick if he had the possibility. Elliott navigated his method again via the sphere and proper onto Harvick’s bumper — good place to destroy one other day for Harvick.
The 2 hurtled into the primary flip with 10 laps remaining however Harvick inexplicably botched the entry — nearly as if he was defensively driving in his rearview mirror — and crashed arduous into the wall. His Ford was destroyed and Harvick’s title run delivered to a sudden halt.
Harvick had by no means earlier than been knocked out of the playoffs within the second spherical for the reason that elimination format started in 2014. He’d made it to the third spherical in seven consecutive seasons and has raced within the winner-take-all finale 5 occasions.
However on the day he made his 750th profession begin, Harvick completed thirty third and was eradicated together with Christopher Bell, Byron and Bowman.
Elliott did not gloat, however his pleasure was apparent.
“So far as Kevin goes, I simply need to want them a merry offseason and a contented Christmas,” Elliott stated.
It is over, no less than so far as Elliott is worried.
“For us, we’re simply eyes ahead and completely satisfied to be shifting on,” Elliott stated. “That’s the massive image. We’ll maintain combating.”
NASCAR races subsequent at Texas Motor Speedway, the identical monitor the place Harvick in 2014 shoved Keselowski right into a scrum of Jeff Gordon’s crew to set off a melee. As the 2 groups brawled on pit highway, Harvick stood again and watched after which gained his solely Cup title two weeks later.
Larson was in awe Sunday on the restoration made by the No. 9 workforce and stated he watched the incident between Harvick and his teammate on the massive display screen within the Charlotte infield.
“I noticed Kevin get into Chase, get his payback I’m guessing. However, man, Chase’s workforce did such a great job combating via that,” Larson stated. “I believe some other race within the season, you’ll most likely hand over and simply patch it collectively the perfect you possibly can, and the driving force additionally might be going to limp it round and settle for that they aren’t going to make the following spherical.”
However Larson has no thought what Harvick could have in retailer now that Harvick has nothing to lose, whereas Elliott nonetheless must get via Texas, Kansas and Martinsville to race for the title. In contrast to his boss, Larson wasn’t certain what the following step is or if NASCAR wanted to intervene.
“I haven’t been in that state of affairs but to have a real opinion,” Larson stated. “You by no means know if Kevin’s going to really feel like he nonetheless owes him extra. That’s between them two. NASCAR, in the event that they really feel like they should step in, I don’t actually have an opinion of it.”