Kevin Harvick’s race-winning auto fails inspection; had illegal spoiler during inspection

Kevin Harvick’s win Sunday at Texas no longer counts for automatic qualification into the championship raceMore

Kevin Harvick’s win Sunday at Texas no longer counts for automatic qualification into the championship raceMore

Kevin Harvick's road to the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship just became more hard. The spoiler was offset to the right and NASCAR says it gave Harvick an aerodynamic advantage.

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. "We will try to do that in pre-inspection, and then I think we have enough eyes to know if a spoiler comes off a auto, then we go on high alert on that one".

Miller said that NASCAR will change its inspection procedure at the track starting this weekend at Phoenix. "It's getting borderline ridiculous".

Instead, NASCAR believes SHR made its own spoiler, passed it off as one from the mandatory vendor and used it to help Harvick win.

Furthermore, crew chief Rodney Childers and auto chief Robert Smith will miss the final two races of the season; the former was also fined $75,000.

If you're like me, you see two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races on the schedule and are immediately filled with a range of different emotions. Childers also was fined $75,000.

But the sanctioning body docked him 40 points after finding illegal alterations to his rear spoiler. 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.

Harvick still has the possibility to clinch the final playoff spot available on points.

SHR will not appeal the penalties. Tony Gibson, who has worked as a crew chief on various SHR cars and now serves as the team's production manager, will fill in for Childers.

We will start by calling this the week of controversy and penalties. "We will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack". On Wednesday morning, NASCAR announced Sunday's AAA Texas 500 victor has received an L1-level penalty, nullifying his victory and revoking his guaranteed spot in the Championship Round.

The 2014 Cup Series champion is a nine-time victor at Phoenix, including earlier this year. He pulled it off and is a nine-time victor at Phoenix, including earlier this year.

He's been in NASCAR's final three of the last four years. Both drivers were already eliminated from the playoffs in earlier rounds. Now, SHR could wind up locked out of the finale outright if Harvick doesn't advance past Phoenix.

Fortunately for the No. 4 team, they know how to win at Phoenix. Johnson was sent to the back of the field because NASCAR believed his vehicle failed inspection three times, but he had failed only twice. 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. Harvick, along with Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., is part of NASCAR's so-called Big Three that dominated the season through a stretch of summer racing.

What NASCAR essentially did is make the Can-Am 500 a race in which Harvick has to perform well to stay ahead of Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott in the points to secure a spot in the Championship 4.

"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", NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said. The #12 Team Penske team of Ryan Blaney and the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing club of Erik Jones suffered 20-point penalties and crew chief suspensions for their infractions.

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