I cannot lie to you, there was nothing better than being a non-Elliott and non-Harvick fan on Sunday because this drama is some of the best we’ve seen in years. It sucks that Harvick is close to retirement because I would love to see this rivalry play out for many years. That’s the big question though, how long are we out from a Harvick retirement? Could this bout with Elliott affect that decision?
To this point, Harvick has stated a desire to return in 2022, but these last four weeks have been a roller coaster for the 4-team. This feud with Elliott has seen Harvick come out on the bad end of each round. There is a specific kind of a shame that comes from what happened to him at the end of the Roval.
To be blunt, Harvick showed his ass by trying to punt Elliott out of the playoffs, and it backfired because NASCAR was not going to allow their fan-favorite driver to get knocked out of the playoffs like that. It was clear that the race was manipulated by race control to give the 9-car every advantage and chance to get back in contention.
If you are Harvick and from his point of view, Elliott got what he deserved and NASCAR did not allow for you’re judgment and actions to play out, you have to be upset beyond belief. For a veteran who has had a struggling season and embarrassed himself by pile driving himself into a wall after paranoia set in with your rival, and then sees that the sanctioning body is against your cause, there has to be a point where you wonder if this is worth it.
Let’s forget about the fact that now for the rest of his career he will be booed and heckled for this incident from the Elliott mob because we know that will be annoying, but Harvick has a pretty full don’t give a damn meter. I don’t think he will be intimidated by the fans or Elliott, but I think that the shame mixed with the frustration of NASCAR essentially fixing the playoffs, is going to sit heavy on his mind. You got to think, If that caution hadn’t come out, and NASCAR would’ve black-flagged the 9-car as history has proven they should, then Harvick may have made the playoffs. It is possible that in Harvick’s mind, NASCAR gifted the 9-car a playoff spot at his expense.
Another factor is if this feud is now over in Harvick’s mind. When you look at it reasonably, Elliott screwed Harvick, and Harvick screwed Elliott. Despite Harvick’s turn job being unsuccessful, this should be even. But again, shame and embarrassment can make a person do unreasonable things. Harvick wrecking himself at the Roval could leave him with the desire to finish the job. Elliott’s comments about a merry offseason and happy Christmas also won’t sit well with Harvick, and I don’t expect him to allow Elliott to get the last laugh.
So, if you’re Harvick and you near the end of your career anyway, do you wait until Martinsville or Pheonix and take out Elliott (properly) and walk off with a big middle finger to NASCAR, Chase Elliott, and the Elliott fanbase? Obviously, penalty, suspension, and other possibilities could await him if he does this, so if he’s motivated why not do it and then just retire and get away with it?
Harvick is not afraid to just do it and face his penalties in 2022, but a walk-off like that would be a legendary moment in NASCAR. If anyone is capable of doing something like this, it’s Harvick. Either way, I think both Elliott and Harvick have done their fair share of antagonizing in this, and Elliott is more in the right than Harvick. If I’m Chase Elliott though, I can play cool but there is no way you’re not nervous heading into this round because you have no idea what Harvick is capable of.
I would run my butt off to win Texas or Kansas, that way, if Harvick does try something at Martinsville it would be irrelevant. At that point, you have to hope Harvick is moved on, or you never see him at Phoenix, because that would be the ultimate spot to enact his “revenge.”