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 car was “absolutely, 100 percent, no question” not in compliance with the NASCAR Rule Book.
“As black and white as it gets,” Miller said in a Wednesday night conference call.
The spoilers, Miller said, are purchased from a single source supplier and positioned on the car. The spoiler observed on the No. 4 was offset slightly to the right — that provides an aerodynamic advantage when a car goes into the corner.
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An NASCAR inspector noticed something looked amiss on the No. 4 during the post-race inspection at the track, a finding that led to officials breaking down the spoiler completely once back at the R&D Center, where the infraction was then discovered.
“We believe this to be a separate manufactured part by the team,” Miller said. “But … if they would have modified a standard one, the penalty is the same.”
Harvick was docked 40 points for the violation, and his win at Texas no longer automatically advances him to the Round of 8. He also is without crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert Smith for the rest of the season as both are suspended for two races.
Stewart-Haas Racing will not appeal the penalty.
The impact of the penalty stretches behind Stewart-Haas Racing as well.
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Miller said NASCAR officials at ISM Raceway in Phoenix this weekend will further scrutinize all spoilers before cars go on track as a response to the penalty.
“It’s a shame that we have to, but yeah, we plan on doing that,” Miller said. “We have to change the culture. We can’t just say ‘take that off’ because ‘take that off’ obviously isn’t working anymore.
“Teams should be bringing legal cars to the race track, and we shouldn’t have to do those inspections all the time. … I think we’re getting in the borderline ridiculous territory.”
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Additionally, Miller said NASCAR would review its deterrence model in the offseason and consider stiffer penalties for certain infractions.
“We’re actually looking at a lot of different things in the offseason in regards to the deterrence model,” Miller said. “All the way to … we’ve heard the fans call out for, ‘Why don’t you DQ the offending car?’ That’s actually a topic of discussion, among with many other things.
“Certainly points, the deterrence model, fines, suspensions. That’s always on our plates during the winter.”