NASCAR to consider stiffer penalties for violations

Kevin Harvick’s win Sunday at Texas no longer counts for automatic qualification into the championship raceMore

After Harvick made the trip to Victory Lane, his vehicle was sent to the research and development center where illegal modifications to the rear spoiler were found.

"It's a shame that we have to, but yeah, we plan on doing that", Miller said. "We've heard the fans call out to, "Why don't you disqualify the offending car?' That's actually a topic of discussion, along with other things related to the deterrence model", Miller said".

Miller said that NASCAR will change its inspection procedure at the track starting this weekend at Phoenix.

"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".

The whopping penalty negated the automatic berth Harvick earned into NASCAR's version of a final four.

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Harvick's crew chief, Rodney Childers, and vehicle chief, Robert Smith, were suspended for the final two races of the season. NASCAR considered making it an L2 penalty (75 points) but settled on the high end of an L1 penalty (40 points). Harvick gained the maximum 60 points at Texas because he won both stages (10 points each) and the race (worth 40 points).

That's why NASCAR penalized Harvick by stripping his berth in the championship race for the L1 penalty, docking Harvick a maximum 40 points, the team 40 points, fining crew chief Rodney Childers a maximum $75,000 and suspending Childers and auto chief Robert Smith two races each. As part of the penalty, Harvick can not use the win at TMS in a tiebreaker. That leaves Harvick to fight for his playoff life at Phoenix this weekend with backup crew chief Tony Gibson.

"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", SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said Wednesday in a statement. "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 racetrack". Harvick keeps the win at TSM but it no longer guarantees him a spot among the championship four in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November. He pulled it off and is a nine-time victor at Phoenix, including earlier this year. Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer are all below the cutline and likely need to win at Phoenix to advance.

"Teams should be bringing legal cars to the race track, and we shouldn't have to do those inspections all the time". Johnson was sent to the back of the field because NASCAR believed his auto failed inspection three times, but he had failed only twice.

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