Three weeks after their initial run-in at Bristol Motor Speedway, the feud between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick spilled over into an exchange of on-track and verbal jabs during last week's race at the Charlotte Roval. That's led to a cease and desist order from NASCAR, which made it clear to both drivers that further actions like the ones seen last weekend won't be tolerated.
NASCAR held a call with those involved in the feud between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick, warning of "severe consequences" should it continue, according to Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press. While the call included at least six people, NASCAR apparently did all of the talking.
At Bristol in September, Elliott and Harvick made contact that cut down Elliott's tire late in the race, leading to him pulling back out in front of Harvick when he returned to the race and impeding Harvick's progress to the point that Kyle Larson was able to close in and take the win. After biding his time waiting for an opportunity, Harvick dished out payback on Lap 55 by punting Elliott in Turn 7, severely damaging the rear of Elliott's car and jeopardizing his chances of advancing to the next round of the playoffs.
Elliott and his team indicated they would retaliate over the radio, but just as Elliott was closing in on Harvick late in the race, Harvick overshot Turn 1 and slammed the outside wall, ending both his race and his playoff chances. After the race, neither driver indicated that they were now even with each other.
"Sometimes real life teaches you good lessons," Harvick told NBC Sports when asked if he had hit Elliott on purpose.
"As far as Kevin goes, I just want to wish them a merry offseason and a Happy Christmas," Elliott said in a message that has now been turned into a T-Shirt sold on Elliott's official website.
NASCAR has a history of intervening in driver feuds if it feels they go over the line -- Bill France holding a meeting to put the kibosh on a dispute between Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine famously inspired a scene in Days of Thunder -- and they have shown to be especially sensitive to on-track retaliation during the playoffs. That precedent was set in 2015 when NASCAR parked Matt Kenseth for two races after he intentionally wrecked Joey Logano at Martinsville as payback for spinning him out of the lead while racing for the win weeks earlier at Kansas.
In regards to the Elliott-Harvick feud specifically, NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller stated earlier this week that they would try to keep things from getting to that point.
"Now we've had Bristol which one felt slighted on, and obviously yesterday which the one feels slighted on. So hopefully we can put a truce in place there," Miller told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. "But we will just continue to monitor the situation and really try not to let to get it 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. That'll try to be a last resort. But if we keep seeing things, then we will absolutely have to take some sort of action there."
Whether or not Elliott will have to look over his shoulder for Harvick during the final four weeks of the season remains to be seen. Elliott was able to advance to the Round of 8 in the playoffs and now has a chance to advance to the Championship 4 and defend his crown as Cup Series champion from a season ago.