Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

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

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

Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team only have themselves to blame for NASCAR issuing a potential championship-crippling penalty on Wednesday.

But this apparent brazen attempt to circumvent the rules could be the tipping point for NASCAR as it tries to emphasize that teams must bring legal cars to the race track. Ryan Blaney's No. 12 team and Erik Jones' No. 20 team will each be docked 20 driver and owner points, and both team's vehicle chief and crew chief will be suspended for the final two races of 2018.

Greg Zipadellil, SHR's vice president of communications, said the team will not appeal the penalty.

We will start by calling this the week of controversy and penalties. "Instead, we will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack".

Harvick still has the possibility to clinch the final playoff spot available on points. That leaves Harvick to fight for his playoff life at Phoenix this weekend with backup crew chief Tony Gibson. Logano is not making any friends during his run for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series championship. Now, SHR could wind up locked out of the finale outright if Harvick doesn't advance past Phoenix.

"We realize that we kind of probably need to ramp up the severity of what goes on at the race track, and we're hoping that we can change the culture to where we don't have to play this cat-and-mouse game with the teams all the time because we have to make it a little bit more outcome for them than just saying, 'Take that [piece] off, '" Miller said. 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.

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Of course for the fans it means a little bit more because it is a derby and because we are playing against a contender. The top teams, you can not imagine and think about it, play amazingly for 90 minutes and they don't have chances".

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In the end, if you ask 10 people, they all have different views how it's been won or lost. "He won it. To do so, they simply have to ensure Ferrari do not score 12 more points than them.

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.

- NASCAR will perform an engine teardown and enhanced post-race inspection immediately after the Homestead race (as it has done in the past) rather than wait until midweek to scrutinize the championship vehicle for any amusing business.

"It is not our desire to issue any penalties, but we'll do so when necessary to ensure each race and championship is contested on a level playing field", Miller said earlier Wednesday.

NASCAR later allowed Miller to answer questions about Harvick's penalty because of the magnitude of the situation. 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. Crew chief Chris Gayle is fined $50,000, and auto chief Jason Overstreet is suspended for the next two races. Nick DeFazio will be the interim auto chief.

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