Hendrick Calls For End of Elliott-Harvick Feud

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, October 11 2021

Kevin Harvick appeared to engage in payback against Chase Elliott on Sunday. Elliott’s owner said enough is enough afterward. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – With the conclusion of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs second round, team owner Rick Hendrick hopes the Kevin Harvick-Chase Elliott feud that erupted three weeks ago at Bristol is in the rear view mirror as well.

Hendrick said that wrecking other drivers was not the way his organization wanted to race.

“It never feels good to push somebody out of the way,” the veteran team owner said. “I mean, a little rubbing or something, that’s OK, but just to wreck somebody, that’s not good.”

In Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400, Harvick bumped Elliott on lap 55 of the 109-lap event, sending him into a spin and crashing into the turn eight wall. That appeared to have ended Elliott’s playoff run and opened the door for Harvick to advance. Immediately after the accident, Elliott’s crew chief Alan Gustafson told his driver on their two-way radio: “If we get a chance to wreck him, it will lock us in.”

Elliott responded, “Don’t you worry.” 

To which Elliott’s spotter Eddie D’Hondt said, “Oh, it’s going to happen.”

“Of course they were upset,” Hendrick said after the race. “Everybody was upset when that happened today. It looked like Chase could be done and out of the payoffs. I mean, it was a lot of heated feelings.”

Harvick ended up wrecking himself 10 laps from the finish when he charged into Turn 1, his car’s left-front wheel locked up and his Ford plowed into the wall. That put Harvick out of the playoffs and Elliott advanced to the Round of 8.

Everyone viewed Harvick spinning Elliott as payback for Bristol where Harvick cut Elliott’s tire as they battled for the lead. After returning to the track in that race, Elliott held up Harvick so Hendrick teammate Kyle Larson could catch Harvick and pass him for the victory. 

Now, that there has been a tit-for-tat exchange between Harvick and Elliott, Hendrick hopes that’s the end of it. If not, he said NASCAR needs to step in.    

 “The crew chiefs and everybody can do the best they can, but it’s up to the drivers themselves,” Hendrick said. “I’ve been in this situation before. NASCAR can handle it.”

Hendrick found himself in a similar situation in May 1987 when his driver Geoffrey Bodine and Dale Earnhardt spent two weekends wrecking each other at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It began in The Winston all-star race and then continued the next weekend in the Busch Series (now Xfinity) race on Saturday and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. It was those three races that resulted in then NASCAR President Bill France Jr. summoning Earnhardt and Bodine along with team owners Hendrick and Richard Childress to his office in Daytona for a meeting. 

In that meeting, France told them it would stop and if it didn’t, Earnhardt could return to the dirt tracks, Bodine to the Modifieds and Hendrick to selling cars. France’s words to Earnhardt: “This sport is bigger than you and me, and it will be here when we’re gone.” They all then went to dinner together. The meeting was recreated, with poetic license, in the Tom Cruise movie “Days of Thunder.”


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, October 11 2021
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