A senior NASCAR official said members of the sanctioning body would speak with rivals Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick in an effort to mitigate their feud that has escalated through the Cup Series Playoffs.
Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, addressed the latest in a series of incidents between the two drivers during a Monday morning appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“We definitely have something brewing between those two,” Miller told SiriusXM. “We spoke to them after the thing at Bristol and we’ll circle around, and I don’t know if we’ll have them together or talk to them individually to see where they are right now, but we don’t need that continuing on and we’ll do what we think is necessary to kind of get that one calmed down.”
The conflict between the two sparked up during the postseason’s Round of 16 finale at Bristol Motor Speedway, where late-race contact prompted Elliott to impede Harvick’s progress in the closing laps. That triggered a heated conversation on pit road and a later talk inside a team hauler.
The two drivers suggested days later that their differences remained unresolved. A mid-race bump from Harvick that sent Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet into a retaining wall during Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 confirmed that notion. Elliott rallied to keep his playoff hopes alive, and Harvick’s crash 11 laps from the end terminated his postseason eligibility.
Rick Hendrick, team owner for both Elliott and eventual Roval race winner Kyle Larson, suggested post-race that NASCAR officials intercede to soothe the tensions.
“Well, I think they’re the only ones that can really stop it,” Hendrick said. “I hope they do because the crew chiefs and everybody can do the best they can, but it’s up to the drivers themselves. I’ve been in this situation before. NASCAR can handle it.”
Monday, Miller said competition officials handle driver conflicts on a case-by-case basis, adding that he hoped to avoid any sort of harsh punishment.
“Every situation, it can’t be a blanket statement, right? Every situation is different,” Miller said. “Now we’ve had Bristol, which one felt slighted on, and obviously yesterday, which the other feels slighted on, so hopefully we can put a truce in place there. But we will just continue to monitor the situation and try not to let it get out of control. We don’t want to park anybody. We want all the fans to see the drivers that they came out to see, so that’ll try to be a last resort. If we keep seeing things, then we will absolutely have to take some sort of action there.”