Harvick's championship berth spoiled by NASCAR inspectors

Harvick's championship berth spoiled by NASCAR inspectors

The rule in question states that spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer and not altered.

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.

"As black and white as it gets", Miller said in a Wednesday night conference call.

"Yeah, we'll have to take them off and match them up against the part that it's supposed to be", Miller said. "It's getting borderline ridiculous".

Furthermore, crew chief Rodney Childers and vehicle chief Robert Smith will miss the final two races of the season; the former was also fined $75,000. Both were suspended for two races.

NASCAR also suspended Harvick's crew chief, Rodney Childers, and auto chief, Robert Smith, for the final two races of the season, as well as docking Harvick 40 points. He sits three points ahead of Kurt Busch and 17 points ahead of Chase Elliott heading into the elimination race Sunday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

SHR will not appeal the penalties.

Zipadelli said Tony Gibson will come out of retirement to work as interim crew chief.

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 race track".

Harvick's win at Texas was his series-leading eighth of the year and qualified him for Homestead along with Joey Logano. He thought he had secured his spot in the championship race with his 45th career victory.

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

He's been in NASCAR's final three of the last four years. 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 effect for them than just saying, 'Take that [piece] off, '" Miller said.

NASCAR will evaluate its penalty system following the season, a typical procedure and one that could spark additional internal debate about whether NASCAR needs to start disqualifying teams for violations and whether it must crack down on teams failing inspections multiple times prior to qualifying and the race.

Harvick is not the only driver to get an L1 penalty. He trails Martin Truex 25 points and Kyle Busch by 28.

As a result, Harvick's victory does not count toward automatic advancement into the Championship Race at Homestead.

"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. Driver Ryan Blaney loses 20 driver points, and the team loses 20 owner points.