Kyle Larson won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, but his victory was overshadowed by a postrace exchange between Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.
Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott had a heated postrace exchange after the race. This overshadowed Kyle Larson’s victory in NASCAR Cup Series.
BRISTOL (Tennessee) — Kyle Larson’s brilliant move at Bristol Motor Speedway denied Kevin Harvick his first victory of the season, which was overshadowed Saturday night by a postrace brawl between Harvick and defending Cup champion Chase Elliott.
The audience was split on whether Harvick or Elliott should be booed or applauded, and with his losing streak now at precisely one year, Harvick said, “I’m ready to tear somebody’s head off.”
“We were fighting for the friggin’ victory at Bristol, and he throws a temper tantrum like I was just trying to grab the lead and race him hard,” Harvick said. “Then he pulls up in front of me and waits there until I lose the whole lead,” says the driver.
At that point, the audience was clearly on Elliott’s side.
Harvick stated, “They can boo all they want, I don’t care.”
Meanwhile, Elliott said that Harvick pushes people about on the track and that the trend must be broken.
Elliott remarked, “It’s something he does all the time.” “At other tracks, he constantly runs into your left side, and sometimes it cuts down your left side, and sometimes it doesn’t.” He did that to me a few weeks ago in Darlington because he was weary of racing with me, and whether he did it on purpose or not is irrelevant.
“It makes no difference who he is or how long he has been doing it. I’m going to defend myself and my squad and go on my way.”
Elliott led the race for 175 laps until being overtaken by Harvick with 33 laps remaining in an intense sequence in which their vehicles collided. It resulted in a flat tire on Elliott’s Chevrolet, but Harvick was able to drive away without incident.
Harvick looked to be on his way to his first win of the season (his previous victory came at Bristol a year ago), but Elliott was enraged when he returned to the track after a tire change and purposefully slowed down in front of Harvick in an effort to spoil Harvick’s race.
With four circuits left, the slowdown allowed Larson to bridge the distance and execute the race-winning maneuver. Larson, the top seed in the playoffs, won his sixth Cup game of the season.
Hendrick Motorsports had a great night, with Larson winning and keeping all four of its drivers in the playoffs. At Bristol, the third and last race of the first round, when NASCAR reduces the field from 16 to 12, Alex Bowman and William Byron were both in risk of being eliminated.
Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, and Michael McDowell were the ones that were removed instead. Chip Ganassi will not win a title in his 20-year NASCAR tenure as a result of Busch’s elimination. He sold his team at the conclusion of the season, and Busch was his last shot at a championship.
However, as the eliminated drivers sulked and Larson celebrated on the frontstretch, Harvick and Elliott railed on pit road.
Following the race, the two parked their cars next to each other on pit road, then followed each other down till they parked nose-to-tail and both drivers hopped out of their automobiles. Elliott raised his finger to Harvick’s face as Harvick kept his helmet on.
The yelling escalated, got violent for a short while, and ultimately led to a private conversation in Elliott’s truck.
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