Kevin Harvick and SHR have just been handed the biggest penalty in the history of NASCAR
NASCAR team comments following the Texas Motor Speedway L1 penalty for a rear spoiler violation; Stewart-Haas Racing will not appeal
Kevin Harvick dominated the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Following the Kevin Harvick penalty, the win will remain in the record books. But, that’s about the only thing it counts for.
There’s been higher fines. And there’s been higher point penalties. However, in the history of the sport there’s been no driver who clinched a playoff birth to the final race of the season then had it revoked.
Kevin Harvick took the win at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. With that win, he was one of two drivers who were guaranteed to have the opportunity to race for a championship. With the penalty, the championship 4 opportunity has been revoked.
Previously, only one driver has had a similar penalty. Joey Logano picked up a win at Richmond Raceway in 2017. That win would have guaranteed Logano a spot in the first round of the NASCAR playoffs. Typically, a win during the regular season moves that driver into the first round, regardless of points earned.
However, after the win, Logano was hit with an L1 penalty. As a result, the win could not help the driver reach the playoffs. Logano did not accumulate enough points to make it into the top 16 in points. He missed the playoffs all together.
This penalty to Kevin Harvick is far larger than that. Specifically based on the timing of it alone. Harvick will now need to reclaim his position in the championship race.
He’ll have one race to do it. Harvick will battle with 7 other drivers for the remaining 3 positions in the Championship 4 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kevin Harvick penalty
What: Kevin Harvick’s rear spoiler did not pass inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center. Harvick was the race winner at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Points: Harvick will lose 40 driver points heading into ISM Raceway this weekend. Additionally, the team will lose 40 owner points.
Suspensions: Crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert Smith have been suspended for the next two races. Those races include this weekend and the championship race in two weeks.
Fine: Crew chief Rodney Childers has been handed a fine of $75,000. That’s the largest fine of the year thus far.
Stewart-Haas Racing statement on L1 penalty issued to Kevin Harvick
“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,” SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said moments ago.
“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 race track.”
#4 crew replacements: Due to the crew member suspensions, Tony Gibson will step in as the crew chief for the #4. Nick Defazio will take the role of car chief.
NASCAR statement on Stewart-Haas Racing penalty
“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,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller stated.
NASCAR points following Harvick penalty
1. Joey Logano – 4119 (Win)
2. Kyle Busch – 4128 (+28)
3. Martin Truex Jr – 4125 (+25)
4. Kevin Harvick – 4103 (+3)
5. Kurt Busch – 4100 (-3)
6. Chase Elliott – 4086 (-17)
7. Aric Almirola – 4068 (-35)
8. Clint Bowyer – 4052 (-51)
ISM Raceway is a favorable track for Kevin Harvick. He took the win there earlier in the MENCS season. In total, he has 9 NASCAR Cup Series race wins at the Phoenix based track. After 31 starts, Harvick has an average finish of 9th.