Kevin Harvick: “They could find something wrong with every car, if they took it apart for a whole day at the R&D Center.”
Last week, Kevin Harvick went to victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In dominating fashion, he swept the race, winning stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3.
However, the rear roof bracing broke. As a result, it pulled the right rear of the roof down which in turn pulled down the rear window as well.
After the race, photos of the roof/window took off and went viral. Fans demanded a penalty for the race winner.
The car passed post-race inspection. However, on Wednesday the inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center was completed. The result was a huge L1 penalty for Stewart-Haas Racing and Kevin Harvick.
“If you look at the penalty itself, it’s very confusing. If you look at all the chatter that was created on social media,” Kevin Harvick opens up the discussion at the ISM Raceway media center.
“The whole findings of the whole thing really started from the roof braces not working correctly. [Those] are non-mandatory braces that exist in the back of the roof. That’s really what squished it down.”
“The window bracing itself, there was no issues with. If you look at the perpendicular bar, there’s no specific way that is has to be connected. There was no issues with that.”
“The roof caved in, pulled the back and top of the window down. That’s the root of the social media outrage that came after the race. The car passed the optical scanning station.”
“The car was built to tolerance. The scary part to me is we went far enough to find something at the R&D Center. They could find something wrong with every car, if they took it apart for a whole day at the R&D Center.”
“The sideskirts deal is on us. That rule was put into place on February 18th. It should have been aluminum, it was steel.”
“That’s really kind of the meat of what gave them the ability to actually get the fine to where it was meaningful enough to appease everybody on social media. When you look at that, instead of explaining it correctly, with the roof bracing. There was probably 20 cars in the field that you could call that same penalty on, for the bracing and the windshield attachment.”
7 playoff points were removed from Kevin Harvick after his win at las Vegas. NASCAR also took 20 driver and owner points away from the team. In addition, crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $50,000 and the car chief Robert Smith has been suspended for two weeks.
“If you look at Golf — The fan officiating and the chaos that it caused. I think you see some of the repercussions of ‘finding a penalty’. That didn’t work in Golf. It won’t work here.”
Would Kevin Harvick have gone to victory lane without the brace failure?
“Yeah, hands down. The car was there the week before. Same team, same window bracing.”
This weekend, NASCAR heads to Phoenix. On paper, it’s a track owned by Kevin Harvick. Harvick has a record 8 wins at ISM Raceway. He also leads all drivers in laps led.