From Riggins, Idaho to TMS: Inside the Vander Esch’s 1,835 mile trip
Kevin Harvick can’t blame the pit guns or anything else for his misfortunes this time around.
Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team only have themselves to blame for NASCAR issuing a potential championship-crippling penalty on Wednesday.
NASCAR stripped Harvick’s automatic berth into the Cup championship race after his winning car failed inspection following the win at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.
NASCAR also suspended Harvick’s crew chief, Rodney Childers, and car chief, Robert Smith, for the final two races of the season, as well as docking Harvick 40 points.
SHR will not appeal the penalties.
“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. “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 racetrack.”
Ironically, those are similar words that Harvick spoke after winning the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday. He thought he had secured his spot in the championship race with his 45th career victory.
“That’s how you control your destiny the most is to get in Victory Lane,” Harvick said. “It’s guaranteed if you get to Victory Lane and you’re still in it [the playoffs].”
Now, Harvick will have to either win at Phoenix or earn his way in via points for the championship race Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After the 40-point penalty, Harvick is now fourth in the standings, just three points ahead of teammate Kurt Busch.
The stiff penalty on Harvick and SHR is for an issue related to the rear spoiler according to Section 20.4.12 of the NASCAR Rule Book. The infraction was discovered at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. during post-race car and engine teardown.
Harvick’s victory at Texas was his series-leading eighth in 2018. He finished second at Texas in the spring, blaming issues with the pit guns as the reason why he failed to win.