Harvick's championship berth spoiled by NASCAR inspectors

Harvick loses Championship 4 spot after penalty			Image by Kinrade  LAT

An NASCAR inspector noticed something looked amiss on the No. 4 during the post-race inspection at the track, a finding that led to officials breaking down the spoiler completely once back at the R&D Center, where the infraction was then discovered.

NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller revealed additional details on the L1-level penalty issued Wednesday to the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team, saying the spoiler on Kevin Harvick's vehicle was "absolutely, 100 percent, no question" not in compliance with the NASCAR Rule Book.

The stiff penalty on Harvick and SHR is for an issue related to the rear spoiler according to Section 20.4.12 of the NASCAR Rule Book. In addition to losing his spot in next weekend's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Harvick must also close out the final two races of the season without crew chief Rodney Childers and vehicle chief Robert Smith.

Miller said that NASCAR will change its inspection procedure at the track starting this weekend at Phoenix.

Harvick, despite earning his eighth win of the season, sits in fourth place - three points ahead of Kurt Busch and 17 points ahead of Chase Elliott.

"We realize that we kind of probably need to ramp up the severity of what goes on at the race track, and we're hoping that we can change the culture to where we don't have to play this cat-and-mouse game with the teams all the time", Miller said.

"We have small windows and tight windows to get the inspections done, and we might spend in the neighborhood of five minutes with each of the 40 cars for the three-hour window that we have for inspection", Miller said.

Stewart-Haas Racing announced early Wednesday that the team would not appeal the penalty. Logano is not making any friends during his run for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series championship. Once that happened, it was "100 percent, as black and white as it gets", Miller said.

Kevin Harvick will enter the weekend with the cloud over his head from all of the discussion about his vehicle failing post-race inspection following the AAA Texas 500. Later in the same event, Bowyer was penalized for a crew member being over the pit road wall too early. He trails Martin Truex Jr.by 25 points and Kyle Busch by 28. Strategy will be king on Sunday, but the question remains as to which strategy will work out the best and get one of these drivers into the Championship 4. All three were expected to race for the championship, and none is qualified for Homestead yet with one race remaining.

"It is not our desire to issue any penalties but will do so when necessary to ensure each race and championship is contested on a level playing field", Miller said. NASCAR had moved away in recent years from detailing infractions publicly. Nick DeFazio will serve as interim auto chief.



Other news