Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Harvick’s championship berth spoiled by NASCAR inspectors

Harvick loses Championship 4 spot after penalty			Image by Kinrade  LAT Harvick loses Championship 4 spot after penalty Image by Kinrade LAT
Sidney Guerrero | 10 November, 2018, 09:29

NASCAR believes SHR built its own spoiler and tried to pass it off as one distributed by the vendor on the vehicle Harvick drove to victory last week at Texas. The infraction was discovered at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. during post-race auto and engine teardown. 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.

Stewart-Haas Racing announced early Wednesday that the team would not appeal the penalty. "We will not appeal the penalty. Instead, we will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the race track". Should there be a tie for the final transfer spot, Harvick would not be eligible to use the Texas victory in the tiebreaking procedure.

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.

Harvick won the 2014 Cup Series championship and went to Phoenix that season in a must-win situation to race for the title.

Fortunately for the No. 4 team, they know how to win at Phoenix. NASCAR doesn't penalize teams for a prequalifying or prerace inspection failure and penalizes the team practice time the following week for two inspection failures. Although this isn't the proper time for Martin Truex Jr. or Aric Almirola to get Logano back, if either one has his eligibility ended or becomes locked into the Championship 4, don't be surprised when cameras cut to Logano hitting the wall after one of those drivers, or even a new Logano hater, hits him to end his race. 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.

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As a result, Harvick's victory does not count toward automatic advancement into the Championship Race at Homestead.

"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.

Blaney crew chief Jeremy Bullins was fined $50,000, and vehicle chief Kirk Almquist was suspended for the next two races. Driver Ryan Blaney loses 20 driver points, and the team loses 20 owner points. Jones crew chief Chris Gayle was fined $50,000 and vehicle chief Jason Overstreet was suspended the next two races.

Miller was asked if he thought "ridiculous" was an accurate word to describe how teams are approaching the inspection process. Nick DeFazio will serve as interim vehicle chief.

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