The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team has been issued an L1-level penalty following driver Kevin Harvick’s win Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, an infraction that carries major championship implications in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The team violated Section 20.4.12 of the NASCAR Rule Book that is specific to spoilers. Spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer and not altered. The infraction was discovered in post-race tear down at the NASCAR Research & Development Center.
As a result, Harvick has been docked 40 driver points and the team loses 40 owner points as well. Harvick’s win at Texas no longer automatically qualifies the team for the Championship 4 in Miami. He will enter this weekend’s Round of 8 finale fourth among eight playoff drivers in the standings, three points above the cutline – should there be a tie for the final transfer spot, Harvick cannot use the Texas win in the tiebreaking procedure.
RELATED: Nos. 12, 20 also penalized
Additionally, both crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert Smith have been suspended for the next two races – ISM Raceway at Phoenix and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Childers also has been fined $75,000.
“It is not our desire to issue any penalties, but will do so when necessary to ensure each race and championship is contested on a level playing field,” Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said in a statement. “We will now return our focus to Phoenix, and the battle for a championship.”
Greg Zipadelli, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Vice President of Competition, said in a statement that the team would not appeal the penalty. Tony Gibson, SHR production manager, will serve as interim crew chief for the No. 4 team and Nick DeFazio will be its interim car chief.
“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 in the SHR statement. “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.”
RELATED: Race results
Other Monster Energy Series penalties announced in the Wednesday penalty report were:
• An L1-level infraction to the No. 12 Team Penske camp. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is fined $50,000, and car chief Kirk Almquist is suspended for the next two races. Driver Ryan Blaney loses 20 driver points, and the team loses 20 owner points.
• An L1-level infraction to the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team. Crew chief Chris Gayle is fined $50,000, and car chief Jason Overstreet is suspended for the next two races. Driver Erik Jones loses 20 driver points, and the team loses 20 owner points.