Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
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Harvick's championship berth spoiled by NASCAR inspectors

Harvick's championship berth spoiled by NASCAR inspectors

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

NASCAR announced the penalties against the Stewart-Haas Racing team, which included knocking Harvick out of using the automatic berth to be among four drivers vying for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18.

Kevin Harvick's crew chief says Stewart-Haas Racing modified the spoiler on Harvick's auto because other teams were already doing similar alterations.

Harvick was docked 40 driver points, and Stewart-Haas Racing was docked 40 owner points as well. Tony Gibson, who has worked as a crew chief on various SHR cars and now serves as the team's production manager, will fill in for Childers.

Stewart-Haas accepted the penalty and will not appeal, according to vice president of Greg Zipadelli.

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

This is huge as his victory at Texas can not be used to move him directly into the Homestead Championship race and it can not be used in any way as far as a tie breaker goes if he ties another driver in points after the race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

Harvick will enter Phoenix just three points above the cutline. Harvick has seven wins in his last 12 starts at Phoenix and nine wins in 31 starts overall.

"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 has for several years refused to give specifics about infractions - keeping secret ideas on how to game the system - but reversed course on the Harvick penalty because of mounting criticism about the severity of his punishment. 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.

Other penalties announced on Wednesday were also of the L1 variety. 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.

NASCAR later allowed Miller to answer questions about Harvick's penalty because of the magnitude of the situation.

Blaney's crew chief Jeremy Bullins and Jones' crew chief Chris Gayle have also been fined $50,000 each. Driver Ryan Blaney loses 20 driver points, and the team loses 20 owner points. Miller said the sanctioning body will look during the offseason at tougher penalties if a team that can't even pass the first round of inspection.

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