‘Happy offseason’: Kevin Harvick picks up Chase Elliott for Bristol, then retires from NASCAR playoffs

Chase Elliott is still eligible for a second straight NASCAR Cup Series championship, not thanks to Kevin Harvick.

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

Elliott wished Harvick’s No.4 team a “happy offseason and a merry Christmas” in a post-race interview with NBC. Elliott’s No.9 crew dropped the word “karma” on the team’s radio after Harvick retired from racing and the playoffs at the end of Stage 3.

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Earlier, Harvick used the Bank of American ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday in revenge on Elliott for denying him a playoff victory in Bristol three weeks earlier. He rolled over to the rear bumper of Elliott’s car on lap 55 (of 109) and spun Elliott. The bumper almost came off as Elliott took off for a walk.

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

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After recovering, Elliott was ready to strike back, just as he did in Bristol after Harvick cut Elliott’s left front tire and cost him a possible victory.

He and Harvick were still racing to move forward with 11 laps to go when Harvick sealed his own fate. Her car slipped against the outside wall and crashed violently, ending her day. Elliott was running behind Harvick at the time but had no part in the wreckage.

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“I just pushed it too hard and blocked the tire,” he told Kligerman. He said he “needed to go” to gain positions.

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

The Round of 8 kicks off next Sunday in Texas, but Harvick’s best chance for recovery will be in the Halloween playoff race on the short track in Martinsville. If Elliott still hasn’t nabbed a spot in Championship 4 by then, he might want to get ahead of Harvick – or stay far behind for as long as possible.