Kevin Harvick fails inspection, loses guaranteed spot in NASCAR Championship 4

Harvick loses Championship 4 spot after penalty			Image by Kinrade  LAT

Harvick loses Championship 4 spot after penalty Image by Kinrade LAT

NASCAR believes SHR built its own spoiler and tried to pass it off as one distributed by the vendor on the auto Harvick drove to victory last week at Texas.

Harvick was also barred from using the win as an automatic entry into the final four for the November 18 championship race at Homestead.

But this apparent brazen attempt to circumvent the rules could be the tipping point for NASCAR as it tries to emphasize that teams must bring legal cars to the race track.

Harvick was also docked 40 points, making his work to advance even tougher if he doesn't win the only remaining race of the round at Phoenix.

Tony Gibson will serve as the interim crew chief on the No. 4 over the next two weekends.

Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at SHR, said the team will not appeal the penalties. "We will not appeal the penalty. We will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack". With the penalty, Harvick is still in the playoffs on merit, but just three points ahead of teammate Kurt Busch for the final spot.

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Harvick, despite earning his eighth win of the season, sits in fourth place - three points ahead of Kurt Busch and 17 points ahead of Chase Elliott. The team has not made any members available for comment, and Harvick is not scheduled to speak to the media at Phoenix, where he is a nine-time victor.

"We've heard the fans kind of call out for, 'Why don't you disqualify the offending car?' and that's actually a topic of discussion along with many other things related to the deterrence model", NASCAR Senior Vice President Scott Miller said Wednesday. 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.

As a result, Harvick's victory does not count toward automatic advancement into the Championship Race at Homestead. NASCAR had moved away in recent years from detailing infractions publicly.

Blaney's crew chief Jeremy Bullins and Jones' crew chief Chris Gayle have also been fined $50,000 each.

It took until Wednesday for the penalties to be announced because the cars were in transit Monday from Texas to North Carolina.

"We're actually looking at a lot of different things in the offseason in regards to the deterrence model", Miller said. Once the Harvick violation was discovered late Tuesday, NASCAR had to examine whether the violation was correct and didn't release its findings until the next day - two days before Harvick and his interim crew chief and auto chief will practice at Phoenix.

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