Elliott eases into Texas following NASCAR-ordered cease fire
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - It was only about a day after Chase Elliott wished Kevin Harvick "a Merry Off-Season and Merry Christmas" for the reigning NASCAR champion to get the zinger on the merchandise on his official website.
The Christmas equipment even has its own tab in the online shop.
It's the kind of trolling that would normally infuriate Harvick and spark yet another round of retaliation in his angry feud with Elliott.
Elliott doesn't have to worry: NASCAR broke that rivalry on a conference call with both teams before drivers arrived at Texas Motor Speedway for the opening race of the third round of the playoffs on Sunday. In a brief message to drivers, their crew chiefs, car owners and manufacturer representatives this week, NASCAR warned of dire consequences if Elliott and Harvick continue their battle.
Alan Gustafson, Elliott's crew chief, pointed out that NASCAR intervention should protect the integrity of the playoffs.
"The message NASCAR has conveyed is that they have tried to do the best possible job to make this possible and they are over it," Gustafson said on SiriusXM NASCAR radio. “I commend them for allowing us to race, but I think they have had enough. They made that pretty clear. "
Elliott tries to advance to the championship final to defend his cup title. Harvick was eliminated last week when he self-destructed when Elliott approached his rear bumper.
Harvick had ruined Elliott earlier in the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in retaliation for Elliott cost him a win at Bristol three weeks earlier. After the crash last Sunday in Charlotte, which briefly put Elliott in danger of being eliminated in the playoffs, Elliott was instructed by his crew to destroy Harvick if he had the chance.
He didn't have to do anything, however, because when Elliott and Harvick pulled into the tricky first corner on the hybrid road course / oval, Harvick inexplicably drove straight into the wall. He later stated that the first crash was an intentional repayment for Bristol, but Harvick walked away when asked if the feud was over.
Elliott then delivered his verbal thrust, team owner Rick Hendrick called on NASCAR to intervene, and NASCAR eventually shut it down.
"They try to allow the competitors to compete in the races and the competitors are the ones who determine the outcome of the races and the competitors take care of it themselves," said Gustafson. “I think that's how it should be, right? The story shouldn't be NASCAR, it should be about the competitors, about racing and about being the best they can be. "
The truce was greeted with contempt on social media by fans thirsting for more pounding and pounding between two of NASCAR's top stars, but it was greeted by some of the drivers still in the fight for the title.
Joey Logano, himself involved in his own part in previous feuds, was right in front of Elliott when Harvick destroyed him at Charlotte's. He said drivers need to be aware of who is angry with whom on the track.
"I'm just trying to avoid it, you know? Or at least be aware of the situation, ”said Logano. "We follow and understand what the drama is on the racetrack because you can get caught in the crossfire."
Tony Stewart, co-owner of Harvick's car, declined to comment on the spit with Elliott, remarking, "I respect these two drivers and it doesn't help my organization or me as the owner that I talk about it." But he admitted the frustration of Harvick, who had nine straight wins last year but still haven't hit the winning track in 2021.
Harvick has never been without a win since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, the year of his only title and only twice in his entire 21-year Cup career.
“It's probably one of the worst years he has ever had and this has been a frustrating year for all of us in the organization, but it was guaranteed to be frustrating for him because this is not the standard he is used to and which he is expected and which he commands, ”said Stewart.
“And that's a champion. All champions are like that. You are not satisfied and he is not satisfied and we all know that. "
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