NASCAR Might Take Away Wins If Teams Keep Cheating Next Season

Tanya Simon
November 11, 2018

NASCAR took three cars back to its R&D Center after Texas and all three failed teardown inspections.

After Harvick made the trip to Victory Lane, his auto was sent to the research and development center where illegal modifications to the rear spoiler were found. Kurt Busch is the final combatant, as he sits just three points behind Harvick. Not only did Harvick lose his spot in the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he must race the final two weeks of the season without his crew chief and vehicle chief.

Miller said that NASCAR will change its inspection procedure at the track starting this weekend at Phoenix.

Now, Harvick will have to either win at Phoenix or earn his way in via points for the championship race November 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"We're looking at the whole deterrence model and trying to review that over the winter and possibly put more teeth in it", Miller said, per AutoWeek. "We will try to do that in pre-inspection, and then I think we have enough eyes to know if a spoiler comes off a auto, then we go on high alert on that one".

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The team said it would not appeal the penalty and vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said in a statement "NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book".

"As black and white as it gets", Miller said in a Wednesday night conference call.

The issue was with a spoiler that had been modified to give Harvick an aerodynamic advantage as he dominated and won for a Cup Series-high eighth time this season. Harvick has seven wins in his last 12 starts at Phoenix and nine wins in 31 starts overall. The crew member was sitting on the wall with his feet touching the asphalt on pit road, which was a violation, even if it seemed extreme.

Harvick is not the only driver to get an L1 penalty. All three were expected to race for the championship, and none is qualified for Homestead yet with one race remaining.

Scott Miller, NASCAR's senior vice president of competition, said he felt SHR took the notion of pushing boundaries and exploring technology "into borderline ridiculous territory". "We will now return our focus to Phoenix, and the battle for a championship". Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is fined $50,000, and vehicle chief Kirk Almquist is suspended for the next two races. Ryan Blaney's team was punished and so was the team for Erik Jones. Crew chief Chris Gayle is fined $50,000, and auto chief Jason Overstreet is suspended for the next two races. NASCAR doesn't penalize teams for a prequalifying or prerace inspection failure and penalizes the team practice time the following week for two inspection failures. Nick DeFazio will be the interim vehicle chief.

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