Kevin Harvick Revoked of 2018 NASCAR Cup Championship 4 Berth After Texas Race Penalty
Harvick's Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief and car chief will also be suspended for the remainder of the 2018 season.
Kevin Harvick left Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday seemingly locked into the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs championship round after his win of the AAA Texas 500. However, severe penalties announced by NASCAR on Wednesday morning made his playoff advancement not so secure.
A win by a playoff driver normally clinches them a berth in the next round. Despite that, an issue with the rear spoiler on Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, discovered during a tear-down inspection at NASCAR’s research and development center, resulted in penalties that included the negation of playoff benefits that normally come with race wins.
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. The points penalty dropped him to fourth in the standings among the remaining eight playoff drivers, three points ahead of the cutoff.
Harvick’s team has the ability to appeal the penalties issued after the Texas race, but the team has announced it will not exercise that option. Those penalties also include the suspensions of crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert “Cheddar” Smith for the remaining two races of the 2018 season and a $75,000 fine for Childers.
"We work tirelessly across every inch of our racecars to create speed, and unfortunately, NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book,” Stewart-Haas Racing Vice President of Competition Greg Zipadelli said Wednesday in a statement released by the team. "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."
Tony Gibson will fill-in as crew chief on the No. 4 team with Nick DeFazio as substitute car chief.
Those advancing will include playoff drivers with “clean” wins in the current round, followed by those in the top four of the points standings after Phoenix. Joey Logano is the only individual with a championship four playoff berth already clinched, courtesy of a win at Martinsville Speedway.
Harvick, the 2014 Cup Series champion, has been a major presence throughout the 2018 season, leading the series in race wins with eight. He also is a favorite for the race at ISM Raceway with nine career wins there, including the most recent competition at the track earlier in March.
Harvick dominated the AAA Texas 500, leading 177 laps of the race that was extended to 337 laps by an overtime restart, and winning both 85-lap stages.
- RELATEDNASCAR Admits Fault in Jimmie Johnson Penalty Incident, Changes Procedure to Avoid Snafu RepeatNASCAR erroneously penalized Jimmie Johnson at the start of the AAA Texas 500 on Nov. 4, forcing him to run from the back of the field undeservedly.READ NOW
- RELATEDF1 Star Fernando Alonso and NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson to Trade Race Cars in Bahrain Swap TestTwo champions from differing disciplines will race each other's cars on the same track in Bahrain come November 26.READ NOW
- RELATEDCole Custer Pulls Off Final-Lap Pass to Win NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Texas Motor SpeedwayA record 13 cautions were flown before Custer made his move on Tyler Reddick for the victory.READ NOW
- RELATEDJustin Haley Makes Final Lap Pass for NASCAR Truck Series Win at Texas Motor SpeedwayWhen Todd Gilliland ran out of fuel, Justin Haley made his move to claim his third Truck Series win of the year.READ NOW
- RELATEDNASCAR Royalty Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tweets in Approval of Justin Bieber's FashionWell there's a headline you never thought you'd read.READ NOW