NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller revealed additional details on the L1-level penalty issued Wednesday to the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team, saying the spoiler on Kevin Harvick's auto was "absolutely, 100 percent, no question" not in compliance with the NASCAR Rule Book.
Miller said that the spoiler on Harvick's vehicle was offset to the right by 200- to 300-thousandths of an inch. NASCAR can't prove if Stewart-Haas Racing made its own spoiler or altered one from its manufacturer, but senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said the penalty is the same in either case.
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. "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". "We've heard the fans call out to, "Why don't you disqualify the offending car?' That's actually a topic of discussion, along with other things related to the deterrence model", Miller said".
- A NASCAR inspector at the track had noticed something "a little suspicious" about the spoiler at the track, Miller said.
"This met the shape, and it met the height, and we don't check at track the offset of the spoiler because it's supposed to be a standard part that bolts to a standard deck lid", Miller said. "I think we're getting into borderline ridiculous territory".
The whopping penalty negated the automatic berth Harvick earned into NASCAR's version of a final four. Both were suspended for two races. But certainly, points, deterrence models, fines, suspensions, all that stuff is always on our plate during the winter.
Additionally, Harvick was docked 40 points, crew chief Rodney Childers and vehicle chief Robert Smith were suspended for the last two races of the season, and Childers was fined $75,000. As part of the penalty, Harvick can not use the win at TMS in a tiebreaker.
Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at SHR, said the team will not appeal the penalties. However, NASCAR believes the No. 4 team actually manufactured its own spoiler and passed it off as the standard one - except the illegal spoiler was offset to the right in relation to the center of the auto, which was "definitely (an) aerodynamic performance (advantage)", Miller said. "We will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack".
Harvick's win at Texas was his series-leading eighth of the year and qualified him for Homestead along with Joey Logano.