NASCAR’s Scott Miller says the teams are getting into ‘borderline ridiculous territory’ in terms of cheating inspection
Typically, NASCAR issues L1 penalties; We almost saw an L2 for Kevin Harvick after Texas Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick’s rear spoiler was skewed by 200-300 thousandths of an inch (0.2-0.3″). It was pushed to the right which allowed more air to reach the spoiler at corner entry when the car yawed out.
The rear deck lid and the rear spoiler are both standard parts for every car on the race track. Seeing an inconsistency in that area means a team went to a great length to find a custom built advantage.
In order to make that happen, the teams would have had to either make their own part or modified a standard part. Each of those things results in the same penalty.
Was it deliberate or a possible manufacturing error?
“A manufacturing error would be a 10,000th of an inch. Absolutely, 100%, no question. It’s as black and white as it gets,” NASCAR Senior VP of Competition, Scott Miller explained in a teleconference on Wednesday.
“There is a spoiler template that we lay up against the spoiler. It’s the profile of the spoiler. That checks the shape of the spoiler and it checks the height of the spoiler.”
“This met the shape and it met the height. At track, we don’t check the offset of the spoiler because it’s suppose to be a standard part that bolts to a standard deck lid.”
“That location of the spoiler to the deck lid is a given. As long as the standard parts are used. There’s no gray area or anything like that. It’s simple.”
This is the second time this season that Kevin Harvick has been handed an L1 penalty in regards to air on the right side of the rear spoiler. Previously, Harvick’s rear window crushed at high speeds, directly more air to the rear spoiler on corner entry.
In both cases of Texas last weekend and Vegas earlier in the season, he picked up the race win. The fact that it was twice this year, nearly opened the door for a larger penalty.
NASCAR penalty levels explained
NASCAR has two levels of penalties and each of those have different variations of high and low end infractions inside them.
For example, the $75,000 fine and 40 point penalty that Stewart-Haas Racing received is the maximum that can be allocated for an L1 penalty. The maximum suspension of an L1 penalty is 1-3 races. The car chief and crew chief were both suspended for two races. Worth noting, there’s only two races left in the season.
With an L2 penalty, the maximum fine is increased to $200,000. In that case, a maximum point penalty is 75 points. And a suspension in this category ranges from 4-6 races.
“We have two levels of penalties, an L1 and an L2. We were right on the verge of thinking that this might fall into the L2 category. Instead, we went to the top end of the L1 category.”
Other NASCAR inspection failures after Texas Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick wasn’t the only car to fail inspection after Texas Motor Speedway. In fact, three cars that went to the NASCAR R&D Center, failed.
2nd place finisher Ryan Blaney had crush panels move inside the doors of his race car. That brought an L1 penalty.
4th place finisher Erik Jones also failed. In his case, the team was trying to move air from one area of the car to another. In addition, the package tray wasn’t flat.
“The things that we saw with the other two cars are things that we’ve been battling all year. We’ve had them in good check. Then, they cropped up again,” Miller continued.
“I’m not sure if it was a, ‘Let’s see what we can get through there’ or they threw caution to the wind and weren’t thinking they’d be going through there.”
“It’s actually kinda hard to tell what any of these guys are thinking these days. I think we’re getting into borderline ridiculous territory.”