Harvick stripped of berth in NASCAR title race

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

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

NASCAR slammed the Stewart-Haas Racing team with penalties, including not allowing Harvick to use the win for the automatic berth to be among the four drivers who will vie for the championship November 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The rule violated states that spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer and not altered. The team has been docked 40 driver and 40 owner points and crew chief Rodney Childers has been fined $75,000 and suspended for the next two races.

Kevin Harvick's NASCAR Cup Series playoff spot is no longer guaranteed after his race-winning vehicle from Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway was found to have illegal alterations to the rear spoiler.

The stripping of all win bonuses, plus the championship point reduction, means that Harvick is now just three points above the cutline to advance into the Championship Race.

Stewart-Haas will not appeal the penalty.

Harvick will technically keep the win, but he lost the benefit that advanced him to the championship race at Homestead.

Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing, said the team will not appeal the penalties. The penalty opens a realistic chance for Kurt Busch or Chase Elliott to move into the playoffs on merit if Logano, or a non-playoff driver wins this weekend, while Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer would likely need a checkered flag to advance.

"We work tirelessly across every inch of our race cars to create speed and, unfortunately, NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book", Zipadelli said. The infraction was discovered in postrace inspection at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. "Instead, we will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack".

"It is not our desire to issue any penalties but will do so when necessary to ensure each race and championship is contested on a level playing field", Miller said. Former Cup crew chief Tony Gibson will replace Childers. "We will now return our focus to Phoenix, and the battle for a championship". Driver Ryan Blaney loses 20 driver points, and the team loses 20 owner points. Once the Harvick violation was discovered late Tuesday, NASCAR had to examine whether the violation was correct and didn't release its findings until the next day - two days before Harvick and his interim crew chief and auto chief will practice at Phoenix.

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