Kevin Harvick isn’t happy with the NASCAR R&D Center inspection process

Kevin Harvick hosted his first radio show of the year last night; The NASCAR inspection process was a bulk of the discussion: “I don’t like handing the penalties out on Wednesday.”

Two weeks ago, Kevin Harvick was handed an L1 penalty. Last night, Kevin Harvick hosted the first show of his new season. He opened up the discussion on NASCAR inspections.

The way it works is NASCAR hauls the cars back to Concord, North Carolina. Typically, it’s 3 cars. Then, they take the entire car apart, including the engine. They search the entire car for rule breaking scenarios.

On Tuesday, NASCAR announces what they found if anything along with the corresponding penalties. For the West Coast races, it’s pushed back to Wednesday as it takes an extra day to get the car back across the country to the NASCAR R&D Center just to begin the inspection.

“I don’t like handing the penalties out on Wednesday. I think it’s confusing to our fans. I think it’s confusing to the competitors,” Kevin Harvick details via his own radio show ‘Happy Hours’ via Sirius XM.

“You have inspectors at the race track that know about the race cars. It shouldn’t come back to scrutinizing things to the point of finding something.”

“And then you take it into your executives and you say, ‘Here’s what we found. What do you think we should we do?’ ”

NASCAR Research and Development Center inspection
NASCAR Research and Development Center inspection

“It should be done at the race track. Then, you should take those cars back, dismantle them and find the things that you don’t like about them and make sure that they don’t happen going forward. That’s what the R&D Center should be used for.”

“Mainly for the fact that we aren’t confused on Wednesday afternoon when they hand out the penalty.”

In other words, once the car passes inspection at the track, the race is official. Yet, the car would still go back to the R&D Center. That would give NASCAR an opportunity to go through the car with a fine tooth comb.

In the case that they find something, Kevin is suggesting that L1 penalties shouldn’t be handed out. Instead, NASCAR can use that new found info to inspect the cars at the race track after the race in the following week. They could even issue a bulletin warning to the teams.

The downside of this idea is that the at-track inspections would take significantly longer. NASCAR would simply end up checking more things at the track.

Though, it certainly wouldn’t be longer than the 3 days it takes to complete the R&D Center inspections. It would also likely mean that NASCAR couldn’t check everything, the way they want to.

Many might read that and think Harvick is just saying that because of what happened to him. Nope. He said the same thing last season, well before any of this happened to him.

“We passed all the templates. We passed all the OSS, before and after the race. All those inspections were passed.”

Beyond the window, the #4 team was also found to have illegal parts on their side skirts. That side skirt rule came out February 18th. Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team take blame for that one.

“The side skirts, that one’s on us. Our old material that was steel wound up on the car. It’s mandated aluminum.”

But, the most talked about portion of the penalty was the roof and rear window. The drooping roof caused the deformed window. All of that was the result of a part failure.

“We all get pictures, every week at the race track. Everybody’s got deformed windows, deformed parts and pieces on their race car.”

“If that’s something we’re going to inspect — That’s really what I want. I want the consistency. If this is the way that everything’s are going to be scrutinized in the bag.”

“Everybody just wants the consistency of how things are going to work. Just to know. So, you don’t get yourself into more trouble.”

If those photos never showed up on social media would you have been penalized?

“I don’t think so. That same exact car and that same exact stuff was at the R&D Center the week before. We won in the exact same stuff, the week before.”

“And let me remind you. That same team and same car [design] were at the R&D Center 49 times [in] the last 3 years.”


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