The race-winning Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford has passed post-race inspection at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with no issues, confirming Kevin Harvick’s first victory of the year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The SHR No. 4 Ford was found to be compliant with the 2019 NASCAR Rule Book after Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. No other issues were reported from technical inspection or the post-race lug-nut check.
With the post-race teardown complete, the race results are official. Competition officials indicated the Team Penske No. 12 Ford of fourth-place Ryan Blaney would travel to the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, this week for further evaluation.
The post-race process is part of a new, more timely approach to inspection for all three NASCAR national series. Competition officials announced in February thorough post-race inspections would take place shortly after the checkered flag at the track instead of midweek at the NASCAR R&D Center.
Those inspections come with a stiffer deterrence structure that includes disqualification for significant rules infractions — “a total culture change,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. In the past, race-winning teams found in violation of the rules were penalized with post-race fines, points deductions and/or suspensions, but victories were allowed to stand.
Competition officials introduced the quicker post-race inspection timetable in an effort to make the results official on race day, aiming for a 90-minute target time frame to complete their scrutineering. The new post-race inspection process was also designed to deal with potential violations more promptly, avoiding any midweek news that might cloud the previous week’s results or the build-up to the next week’s event.
NASCAR will still inspect cars and parts for technology trends at the R&D Center as needed, but the more comprehensive at-track inspection will take priority.
The first NASCAR national-series organization to run afoul of the new inspection system was Niece Motorsports, which absorbed a disqualification June 16, stripping Ross Chastain’s No. 44 of an apparent Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory at Iowa Speedway. The first-finishing Niece truck failed to meet the minimum ride height, an infraction that was upheld after an appeal.
Two disqualifications have occurred in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since then: Christopher Bell’s third-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway was thrown out June 29 for a ride-height violation, and AJ Allmendinger’s third-place result was nullified July 5 at Daytona International Speedway because of an engine infraction.
According to NASCAR statistical archives, the last time a premier series driver was disqualified occurred in 1973, when early retiree Buddy Baker was demoted to last place in the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The last time an apparent race winner in NASCAR’s top division was disqualified came April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson (N.C.) Speedway was thrown out because of an oversized fuel tank on his No. 85 Chevrolet.