Kyle Larson may already have more victories in 2021 than any other driver, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down any time soon. The No. 5 driver took victory last night at Bristol Motor Speedway by a mere 0.227 seconds over an impeded Kevin Harvick. And while he didn’t need to secure his place in the next round of playoffs — he’s already won a race — Larson is further padding his chances at victory.
That said, as the final laps wound down, it looked like Harvick was set to take victory. But Chase Elliott was still bitter after he and Harvick made contact on lap 465 of 500. Elliott had been leading the race when Harvick overtook him, with their momentary contact leaving Elliott’s No. 9 to suffer a flat tire. Elliott pitted for a change, then returned to the track a lap down, determined to be a pain in Harvick’s ass.
So, as Harvick came around to lap Elliott, Elliott wouldn’t let him pass. That gave Larson the space he needed to zip by for the lead with three laps remaining and to take his sixth victory of the season.
As you can imagine, Harvick was not impressed at losing his fairly substantial lead. Harvick tapped Elliott’s car as the two headed to pit road after the race, and he quickly exited his car to confront Elliott.
“I told him it was kind of a chickenshit move that he did there at the end,” Harvick said of his post-race conversation with Elliott. “We’re racing for the frickin’ win at Bristol. We’re three-wide in the middle, and he throws a temper tantrum, like I was just trying to get the lead and race him hard.
“Then he pulls up in front of me and just sits there until I lose the whole lead, so I just hate it for our team to be able to lose a race like that. I watched him let [William Byron] go by and then anytime you run into him, it’s a problem.”
Elliott had a slightly different perspective, saying, “It’s something he does all the time. He runs into your left side constantly at other tracks. Sometimes it does cut down your left side, other times it doesn’t. Did it to me in Darlington a few weeks ago because he was tired of racing me.
“Whether he did it on purpose doesn’t matter. At some point, you have to draw a line. I don’t care who he is or how long he’s been doing it, I’m going to stand up for myself and my team and we’re going down the road.”
Of course, a playoff race also means that four drivers have been eliminated from playoff contention. Those four drivers are Michael McDowell, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, and Tyler Reddick.
Moving onto the round of 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are:
- Kyle Larson
- Kevin Harvick
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Ryan Blaney
- Joey Logano
- Brad Keselowski
- Chase Elliott
- Alex Bowman
- Christopher Bell
- Kyle Busch
- William Byron