Kevin Harvick attends the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas ; Chase Elliott watches his crew work on his race car during practice for the 2023 Daytona 500
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"Life Happens": Kevin Harvick and Other NASCAR Drivers Weigh in on Chase Elliott's Snowboarding Injury

Chase Elliott breaking his left leg in a snowboarding accident and requiring major surgery isn't something that anyone had on their Bingo card for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. Yet, unfortunately for the 27-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver, he'll be out for at least the next several weeks due to the tibia injury he sustained while hitting the slopes near his family's home in Vail, Colorado last week.

Elliott's injury, which required a three-hour surgery, later spawned a major discussion over whether NASCAR drivers should participate in dangerous extracurricular activities during the Cup season. These sorts of freak injuries have happened to NASCAR drivers over the years. Denny Hamlin tore his ACL twice while playing basketball, once in 2010 and for the second time in 2015. In 2006, Jimmie Johnson broke his left wrist when he fell off a golf cart during a celebrity tournament. For Kevin Harvick, these sorts of things are unfortunate byproducts of necessary downtime.

"Life happens," Harvick told Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass. "You have to be able to go out and live your life to keep yourself sane or this deal will eat you up."

"I'm in the category with Chase. I like to live my life. I like to ski. I like to go do things. Stuff is going to happen. There is way too much time spent at the racetrack to not be able to live the rest of your life. To have to live in a bubble is impossible. You've got to go do the things you like to do. I try to do things in a cautious manner and try to think about the consequences in what I'm doing, whether it's conditions or [certain] slopes. You try to be smart about it."

William Byron, Elliott's teammate who also likes to snowboard in his spare time, echoed Harvick's sentiment about the importance of blowing off steam during the season.

"The best thing for a race car driver during the week is to try to let the stress go," Byron said. "It's a very stressful sport. It's high intensity, high adrenaline, and you have to find something."

Byron, who won the Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway only a couple days after Elliott's injury, also touched on how important it was for the other Hendrick drivers to pick up the slack in Elliott's absence. Kyle Larson placed second in the race, while Alex Bowman placed third. Josh Berry, Elliott's replacement, finished in 29th place.

Ryan Blaney has been friends with Chase for years, and has even joined the Elliotts for a couple Vail vacations, so he had the inside scoop on Elliott's mindset following his big surgery.

"He's bummed out," Blaney said. "He's missing this weekend and then things like that, but he's trying to look at it as positive as he can."

"Chase has grown up there and is a very experienced guy on a board. It was an accident. Accidents happen all the time."

Now, as it turns out, some teams are more protective than others when it comes to the types of outside-of-NASCAR activities that drivers are allowed to participate in. Joe Gibbs Racing, for example, tends to be a little more limiting.

"It's all a trade-off," JGR driver Christopher Bell said. "This is a perfect example of why Coach [Job Gibbs] is protective over his drivers because he values us and wants us to be healthy and continue to perform at this level. You have to talk about risk versus reward."

On the flip side, Kyle Busch, who spent the majority of his career with JGR, thinks that owners should be more lenient and let the drivers decide what to do in their free time. As a team owner himself, Busch is all for allowing personal freedom and responsibility.

"We can't just be locked up in a room at home and wrapped in bubble wrap," Busch said. "I feel like as drivers and humans, we have to go live life."

MORE: Chase Elliott Confirms He Eats Wings With a Fork and Knife, Then Later Denies It at the NASCAR Awards