On Lap 465 of 500, after hounding him for several laps, Harvick finally got around Elliott to reclaim the lead of Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
In the process, however, the two drivers made contact and Elliott came away with a flat left-front tire which forced him to pit under green and knocked him out of contention for the win.
Harvick moved out to a sizeable lead but as the race neared its conclusion, Elliott ended up ahead of Harvick, one lap down. With five laps to go, Harvick tried to get around Elliott as Kyle Larson began to close on him from second.
Elliott never budged on his line and eventually Larson got inside of Harvick and passed him for the lead with three laps remaining and held on for the victory.
Harvick was incensed and as the two drivers headed to pit road after taking the checkered flag, Harvick nudged into Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet.
The two ended up parked next to each and other Harvick exited his No. 4 Ford and quickly walked over to Elliott to confront him. The verbal confrontation turned briefly into a shoving match which was broken up by NASCAR officials.
Asked about his conversation with Elliott, Harvick said, “I told him it was kind of a chicken (expletive) move that he did there at the end. We’re racing for the frickin win at Bristol. We’re three-wide in the middle and he throws a temper tantrum, like 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, so I just hate it for our team to be able to lose a race like that. I watched him let (William Byron) go by and then anytime you run into him, it’s a problem.”
Asked about his run-in with Harvick, Elliott said, “It’s something he does all the time. He runs into your left side constantly at other tracks. Sometimes it does cut down your left side, other times it doesn’t. Did it to me in Darlington a few weeks ago because he was tired of racing me.
“Whether he did it on purpose doesn’t matter. At some point, you have to draw a 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’re going down the road.”
Several minutes after the pit road interviews, Elliott and Harvick were caught by TV cameras having another animated conversation in the garage.
After Harvick noticed members of the media were listening in, Harvick and Elliott both entered Elliott’s team haulers for an extended conversation.
A frustrated Harvick slammed the door as he exited the hauler and declined to be interviewed further about the incident.