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Don’t be so quick to crucify Rodney Childers for window cave

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 04: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford, celebrates after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

One of the big stories surrounding Kevin Harvick’s win of the Pennzoil 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4 was the caving-in of the back window of his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford when it was at speed for a significant portion of the race. According to crew chief Rodney Childers, the bowing of the window was the result of a broken brace.

Despite Childers’ statement the following Monday, conspiracy theorists came out of the woodwork, insisting that the team rigged the brace to break with the desired result of a bowing or caving-in of the window to gain an aero advantage.

Should there be a penalty? Sure. After all, NASCAR rules call for that brace to be there, and it didn’t do its job for the entire 267-lap/400-mile distance. While I say that, though, I’m not jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon, insisting that the No. 4 team intended for the brace to break.

No, I’m not naive enough to think that crew chiefs don’t ever resort to shady engineering to gain an unfair advantage. Even so, I’m buying Childers’ explanation and insistence that it wasn’t planned and didn’t give his driver an unfair advantage, despite Harvick’s dominance the last two races.

Here’s why:

Chase Elliott and Alan Gustafson discussed the window of Harvick’s car via in-race radio communications during the race. Afterward, Elliott acknowledged that the bowing/caving of the window didn’t help Harvick win at Las Vegas. If the window did give Harvick and unfair advantage, do you really thing a competing driver, for a competing team, with a competing manufacturer would be okay, or so nonchalant, about it? I don’t think so.

The conspiracy theorists are claiming that Harvick’s dominated the last two races, both of the mile-and-a-half races, so far, this season, because of this so-called shady engineering. Really?!? Then, how was this not noticed at Atlanta two races ago? If Harvick’s window bowed/caved so much at Atlanta a week earlier, I’m pretty sure somebody would’ve noticed it before Vegas. Where are the photos and/or TV stills from Atlanta showing a bowed/caved window? Apparently, there aren’t any.

Looks to me like this was a one-time occurrence.

Again, should there be a penalty? Sure, after the brace broke, the car was outside spec, intentional or not. Should we accuse the No. 4 team of shady engineering because of it? Nah, I don’t think so. Cut these guys a break.

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Posted by on March 7, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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