NASCAR sheds light on Kevin Harvick's illegal spoiler penalty

Postado Novembro 10, 2018

Maybe this is why Kevin Harvick's No. 4 Ford was so strong in winning the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The whopping penalty negated the automatic berth Harvick earned into NASCAR's version of a final four.

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. Spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer and not altered. The infraction was discovered when NASCAR gave the auto a further inspection in North Carolina.

As punishment, Harvick and the #4 team lost 40 points in the Driver's and Owner's Championships, respectively.

Harvick's win at Texas was his series-leading eighth in 2018.

The stripping of all win bonuses, plus the championship point reduction, means that Harvick is now just three points above the cutline to advance into the Championship Race.

Clint Bowyer likely remains in a must-win scenario at ISM Raceway in Phoenix on Sunday.

Crew chief Rodney Childers and vehicle chief Cheddar Smith will also sit out the last two races of the 2018 season.

The team said it would not appeal the penalty and vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said in a statement "NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book". Although Harvick has dominated the track in recent years, the upcoming race will be the first on a new layout.

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

"We were right on the verge of thinking that this might fall into the L2 category", Miller said.

The last big scandal in NASCAR was in 2013, when Michael Waltrip Racing manipulated the finish of a race at Richmond to try to get Martin Truex Jr. into the playoffs. All three were expected to race for the championship, and none is qualified for Homestead yet with one race remaining. "We will now return our focus to Phoenix, and the battle for a championship". Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is fined $50,000, and auto chief Kirk Almquist is suspended for the next two races.

Also Wednesday, NASCAR penalized the teams of Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, who already have been eliminated from the playoffs. Jones crew chief Chris Gayle was fined $50,000 and vehicle chief Jason Overstreet was suspended the next two races.

"We're actually looking at a lot of different things in the offseason in regards to the deterrence model", Miller said. Nick DeFazio will be the interim vehicle chief.