HARVICK, NO. 4 STEWART-HAAS RACING TEAM HANDED L1-LEVEL PENALTY AFTER FAILING POST-AAA TEXAS 500 INSPECTION AT NASCAR R&D CENTER

  • Infraction Costs Harvick 40 Points And Automatic Berth Into Championship 4 As AAA Texas 500 Race Winner Prepares for Sunday’s Round Of 8 Elimination Race 

FORT WORTH, Texas (November 7, 2018) – Kevin Harvick’s dominant win in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 will remain a victory in the Texas Motor Speedway record books.

That win, however, no longer locks him into the Championship 4 as the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team was issued a severe L1-level penalty Wednesday morning, an infraction that changes the entire complexion of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Harvick was stripped of the automatic championship berth that comes with a victory in the Round of 8 and also given a 40-point penalty for an issue related to the rear spoiler according to Section 20.4.12 of the NASCAR Rule Book. The infraction was found at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., during post-race car and engine teardown.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 - Practice
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Ford, heads to ISM Raceway for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8 elimination race currently situated in the fourth and final transfer spot based off points, three ahead of Stewart-Haas teammate Kurt Busch. Photo credit: Getty Images. 

Harvick falls to fourth in the standings, just three points ahead of teammate Kurt Busch for the final playoff spot, as the NASCAR Playoffs head to ISM Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., for Sunday’s Round of 8 elimination race that will determine which four drivers will compete for the series championship on Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The precarious situation is heightened by the fact that Harvick will be without his crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert Smith, who have both been suspended for the final two races of the season as part of the penalty.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500
Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Ford of Stewart-Haas Racing, will serve a two-race suspension as part of the penalty and miss Sunday’s race at Phoenix and the Nov. 18 championship season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The No. 4 team does have the right to appeal the penalty to the NASCAR Motorsports Appeals Panel, but Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing said the team will not appeal. In addition to the points penalty to Harvick, the team was docked 40 owner points.

“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,” 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 race track.”

Zipadelli said Tony Gibson will serve as interim crew chief and Nick DeFazio will be interim car chief.

L1-level penalties also were handed down to AAA Texas 500 runner-up Ryan Blaney and fourth-place finisher Erik Jones, who were both penalized for body panel infractions. Blaney, the driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford, was found with unapproved door front crush panels while Jones, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, had issues with the car’s body and package tray. Neither Blaney nor Jones is among the remaining eight contenders in the NASCAR Playoffs.

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