Tempers Boil Over at NASCAR Bristol Night Race

Tempers Boil Over at NASCAR Bristol Night Race

by September 19, 2021 1 comment

Last night’s biggest headline was most likely to be the four drivers that had their NASCAR championship hopes taken away. Instead, it appears we have a brand new rivalry in the making. Kevin Harvick, then race leader, got up into then second-place Chase Elliott down the stretch at Bristol. This resulted in a cut-down left front tire for Elliott and cost him a shot at a win. When he came back out on track, he waited on Harvick, got into him, and rode in front of him for the rest of the night. This led to Harvick surrendering the lead to the eventual winner Kyle Larson. As for what happened afterward, well…it’s Bristol baby.

Chose Your Fighter

Coming back to pit road, Elliott and Harvick began to shadow each other after getting their usual post-race lug nut check. Parked mere inches from each other, both immediately went straight for each other and exchanged words.

After a heated exchange, Harvick was dragged back away by what appeared to be one of the No. 9 car crew members and then both drivers then were interviewed by the NBC crew. First up was a notably unhappy “Happy Harvick”.

Harvick then said, “They can boo all they want, I don’t care”, in a tone that would lead to the contrary seconds later. Now to the defending champion on his thoughts on the closing laps at Bristol.

In regards to the given statements, both drivers made good points. Neither driver have clean driving records to their credit. Drivers have frequently mentioned Elliott’s reckless driving on plate tracks in the past over the radio. Just weeks ago, he caused a major incident at Daytona via a horribly timed block. Harvick meanwhile is no saint either. In 2015, he managed to casually get away with intentionally wrecking part of the field at the Talladega playoff race to save his season. Elliott however is correct in his belief that he should stand up for himself.

On this particular incident as a whole, Harvick absolutely got into Elliott, however, it is unclear and unlikely, his intent was to deliberately cut down one of his tires. With that said, Elliott was justified in his anger at the 2014 Cup champion. Elliott had a good shot to win late and had it taken away in an avoidable incident. So the contact in retaliation evens things out, but it would be hard to imagine either driver not keeping this in the back of their mind moving forward.

Bad Optics

Harvick and Elliott would once again confront each other in the hauler area, and things continued to be tense. While the two were still talking things out, Jordan Bianchi of the Athletic would try to get some video of the secondary conversation. Harvick would get into his face, not once but twice, along with what appeared to be someone part of Harvick’s management team.

Elliott did not seem happy about the conversation being recorded either, as shown below. In any case, Harvick, and what appears to be someone with him, trying to physically intimidate a credentialed media guy is beyond classless, to put it bluntly. Also not a good look for Harvick to confront Elliott at first with his helmet on when the latter had his off. It appears last year’s Bristol Night Race winner cannot win on or off track in 2021.

Additionally, it was not like the conversation was in either driver’s hauler and he snuck in, it was out in the open. Maybe the conversation should have gone straight to one of the driver’s haulers if you wanted it to be private. Which it ended up going to the No. 9 car hauler anyway, as seen in the video. With all of this said, this was almost certainly not the last incident between the two. In the immortal words of Mike Joy, “Race drivers have longer memories than elephants.”

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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