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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick’s Texas win marred by penalties

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kevin Harvick hasn’t clinched a championship four playoff berth for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and 2018 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway after all. NASCAR has stripped him of the playoff benefits of his dominant win at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 4 as a result of an issue with the rear spoiler on his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, discovered in a teardown inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.

Penalties also included a 40-point deduction that bumps Harvick to fourth in points, three points above the cut-off for playoff advancement beyond Sunday’s race at ISM (formerly Phoenix International) Raceway. The playoff field will be cut from eight to four drivers between the ISM race at the No. 18 finale at Homestead-Miami. Crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert “Cheddar” Smith were suspended for the remaining two races of the season, and Childers were fined $75,000.

Stewart-Haas Racing will not appeal the penalties.

“We work tirelessly across every inch of our racecars to create speed, and unfortunately, NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book,” Stewart-Haas Racing Vice President of Competition Greg 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.”

Tony Gibson will be the substitute crew chief and Nick DeFazio fill-in car chief.

In its penalty announcement Wednesday, NASCAR cited violation of section 20.4.12.a & b of its 2018 rule book and noted, “Vehicle spoiler must conform to the CAD file and drawing. Spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer.”

Harvick has eight wins this season. The victory at Texas was the second of those after which the No. 4 team was assessed an L1-level penalty.

Two other Cup series teams, already eliminated from the playoffs, also were issued penalties after the Texas race.

Jeremy Bullins, crew chief on the No. 12 Team Penske team of Ryan Blaney, was fined $50,000 and the team’s car chief, Kirk Almquist, was suspended for the remaining two races of the season because of a crush-panel issue. Blaney also was docked 20 points.

NASCAR cited violation of section 20.4.17.6.b of its rule book and noted in its announcement, “All filler panels must remain permanently attached for the entire event.”

The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Erik Jones were assessed the same penalties but for another rules infraction. Jones was docked 20 points, crew chief Chris Gayle was fined $50,000 and car chief Jason Overstreet suspended for the final two races of the season because of a violation of section 20.3.4 of the 2018 rule book.

NASCAR’s notes in the penalty announcement relating to the No. 20 violation read, “Air cannot pass from one area of the vehicle interior to another. Vehicle package tray must remain flat and straight, front to back, with one break.”

The Texas race weekend was a tripleheader NASCAR weekend. One NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team was penalized as a result of an infraction in that series’ race at TMS on Nov. 2. The No. 35 NextGen Motorsports that had Brennan Poole as driver at Texas was issued three-race suspensions for crew chief Ryan Bell, truck chief Jerry Kennedy and mechanic Patrick Magee because of a violation of 20.3.4 of the rule book. In its announcement, NASCAR noted, “Loss or separation of added ballast from the vehicle.” The infraction was classified as a safety issue, and the suspensions carry over to the 2019 season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, as only two races remain in the 2018 season.

NASCAR also issued two indefinite suspension for substance abuse policy violations to Vincent L. Shull and Doug J. Campbell.

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Posted by on November 7, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,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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