Harvick loses automatic NASCAR championship berth

Kevin Harvick wins

Kevin Harvick has been stripped of his berth in NASCAR's championship race because his winning auto failed inspection after Texas Motor Speedway.

The rule in question states that spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer and not altered. But the sanctioning body docked him 40 points after finding illegal alterations to his rear spoiler. Harvick's vehicle passed the post-race inspection at TMS. But once it was discovered and compared against the CAD drawing in the rulebook, Miller said it was "black and white".

Additionally, Miller said NASCAR would review its deterrence model in the offseason and consider stiffer penalties for certain infractions.

"We believe this to be a separate manufactured part by the team", Miller said.

However, upon further inspection, NASCAR ruled the win illegitimate and stripped Harvick of the win and the automatic playoff advancement that comes with it. Auto chief Robert Smith has also been suspended for the final two events of the season. "So we'll just ramp up the intensity of keeping people with eyes on those cars throughout the weekend and scrutinize those cars heavily, both before and after the race". NASCAR also hit Childers with a $75,000 fine. With the reduction, Harvick falls to fourth in the standings and may not use his Texas win as a tiebreaker should such a situation arise.

Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing, said the team will not appeal the penalties.

"We work tirelessly across every inch of our race cars to create speed, " Zipadelli said. "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".

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? Now, three spots in the finale will be up for grabs Sunday in Phoenix. 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. He pulled it off and is a nine-time victor at Phoenix, including earlier this year. Logano grabbed the first spot, which meant the best SHR could do was qualify three cars for Homestead. Its entire four-car lineup - Harvick, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola - is still eligible for the title race.

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If the only three cars inspected failed, what about the other 37 cars in Sunday's field?

NASCAR announced the mistake during the race and said Monday it has updated its procedures to prevent a similar mistake moving forward. The crew member was sitting on the wall with his feet touching the asphalt on pit road, which was a violation, even if it seemed extreme.

Harvick is not the only driver to get an L1 penalty.

The two drivers who are now ahead of Harvick but have not yet clinched berths in the Championship 4 are Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch and Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. All three were expected to race for the championship, and none is qualified for Homestead yet with one race remaining.

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". Ryan Blaney's team was punished and so was the team for Erik Jones.

Blaney crew chief Jeremy Bullins was fined $50,000, and vehicle chief Kirk Almquist was suspended for the next two races.

Blaney's crew chief Jeremy Bullins and Jones' crew chief Chris Gayle have also been fined $50,000 each. "The teams should really be bringing legal cars to the racetrack and we shouldn't have to do that inspection all the time".

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