‘Merry offseason’: Kevin Harvick gets Chase Elliott back for Bristol, then crashes out of NASCAR playoffs

Chase Elliott is still eligible for a second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship, no thanks to Kevin Harvick.

Harvick, meanwhile, is out of the 2021 playoffs after wrecking late in Sunday’s race. Elliott and his team couldn’t be more pleased.

Elliott wished Harvick’s No. 4 team a “merry offseason and a happy Christmas” in a postrace interview with NBC. Elliott’s No. 9 crew dropped the word “karma” on the team radio after Harvick wrecked himself out of the race and playoffs late in Stage 3.

NASCAR AT CHARLOTTE: Updates, highlights from the ROVAL 400

Earlier, Harvick used Sunday’s Bank of American ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to get revenge on Elliott for denying him a playoff win at Bristol three weeks earlier. He drove up to the rear bumper of Elliott’s car on Lap 55 (of 109) and spun Elliott. The bumper almost came off as Elliott went for a spin.

“Sometimes, real life teaches you good lessons,” Harvick told NBC’s Parker Kligerman when asked whether the wreck was payback. He told PRN radio’s Alan Cavanna, “You remember Bristol.” Harvick gave just a thin smile when Kligerman asked whether the feud was “over.” 

After he collected himself, Elliott was ready to hit back, just as he did at Bristol after Harvick cut down Elliott’s left front tire and cost him a possible win. 

He and Harvick were still racing to advance with 11 laps remaining when Harvick sealed his own fate. His car slid into the outer wall and crashed hard, ending his day. Elliott was running behind Harvick at the time but had no role in the wreck.

“I just pushed it in there too hard and got the tire locked up,” he told Kligerman. He said he “needed to go” to gain positions.

Elliott moved on to next round with a 12th-place finish. Harvick was the first driver eliminated after finishing 33rd. 

The Round of 8 will begin next Sunday at Texas, but Harvick’s best chance for payback will be in the Halloween elimination race on the short track at Martinsville. If Elliott still hasn’t clinched a berth in the Championship 4 by then, he might want to get way ahead of Harvick — or stay way behind him for as long as possible.

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