Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Kevin Harvick fails inspection, loses guaranteed spot in NASCAR Championship 4

Kevin Harvick wins Kevin Harvick’s race-winning car fails inspection; had illegal spoiler during inspection
Cary Erickson | 10 November, 2018, 06:09

Now that culture has resurfaced again and at a most inopportune time for the beleaguered series.

With Kevin Harvick being no longer locked into the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 as a result of his post-AAA Texas 500 penalty, will he still manage to advance to it?

NASCAR later allowed Miller to answer questions about Harvick's penalty because of the magnitude of the situation.

However, NASCAR announced on Wednesday that the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion was not quite up to spec, and was popped with an L1 penalty when the auto was inspected at NASCAR's Research and Development Center.

NASCAR on Wednesday hit Harvick with an L1-level penalty for use of an illegal spoiler. This prompted NASCAR to levy penalties which include a 40-point deduction and suspension for crew chief Rodney Childers for the remainder of the season, in addition to the aforementioned loss of guaranteed spot in the Championship 4.

Scott Miller, NASCAR's senior vice president of competition, said he felt SHR took the notion of pushing boundaries and exploring technology "into borderline ridiculous territory". He will enter this weekend's Round of 8 finale fourth among eight playoff drivers in the standings, three points above the cutline - should there be a tie for the final transfer spot, Harvick can not use the Texas win in the tiebreaking procedure.

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Spoilers will be checked at Phoenix this weekend, Miller said, and NASCAR will likely ramp up its penalties next year.

SHR has not challenged NASCAR's cheating allegation. The team has not made any members available for comment, and Harvick is not scheduled to speak to the media at Phoenix, where he is a nine-time victor. All three were expected to race for the championship, and none is qualified for Homestead yet with one race remaining. "Unfortunately, NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book, ". Chase Elliott trails Harvick by 17 points.

It wasn't just SHR last weekend, either. The infraction was discovered in post-race tear down at the NASCAR Research & Development Center.

Also Wednesday, NASCAR penalized the teams of Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, who already have been eliminated from the playoffs. Johnson was sent to the back of the field because NASCAR believed his auto failed inspection three times, but he had failed only twice.

"We certainly can't bring the 40-car field back to R&D", Miller said, elaborating on how issues get missed at the track. "It's unfortunate now we'll be pulling spoilers off and have to do another inspection", Miller said.