Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

NASCAR to consider stiffer penalties for violations

NASCAR to consider stiffer penalties for violations

Following R&D inspection after the race, Harvick's #4 auto was found to have an altered spoiler.

Furthermore, crew chief Rodney Childers and vehicle chief Robert Smith will miss the final two races of the season; the former was also fined $75,000.

Now, Harvick will have to either win at Phoenix or earn his way in via points for the championship race November 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Childers also was fined $75,000.

Tony Gibson will fill-in as crew chief on the No. 4 team with Nick DeFazio as substitute auto chief.

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Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at SHR, said the team will not appeal the penalties. He sits three points ahead of Kurt Busch and 17 points ahead of Chase Elliott heading into the elimination race Sunday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. "We will not appeal the penalty". With the reduction, Harvick falls to fourth in the standings and may not use his Texas win as a tiebreaker should such a situation arise. "Instead, we will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the race track". He pulled it off and is a nine-time victor at Phoenix, including earlier this year. NASCAR has for several years refused to give specifics about infractions - keeping secret ideas on how to game the system - but reversed course on the Harvick penalty because of mounting criticism about the severity of his punishment.

Harvick is not the only driver to get an L1 penalty.

NASCAR announced the mistake during the race and said Monday it has updated its procedures to prevent a similar mistake moving forward. All three were expected to race for the championship, and none is qualified for Homestead yet with one race remaining. NASCAR took three cars back to its R&D Center after Texas and all three failed teardown inspections.

Also Wednesday, NASCAR penalized the teams of Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, who already have been eliminated from the playoffs.

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"We realize that we kind of probably need to ramp up the severity of what goes on at the race track, and we're hoping that we can change the culture to where we don't have to play this cat-and-mouse game with the teams all the time because we have to make it a little bit more outcome for them than just saying, 'Take that [piece] off, '" Miller said.

A major penalty following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway has completely changed the complexion of the race to make the Final Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend.

The last big scandal in NASCAR was in 2013, when Michael Waltrip Racing manipulated the finish of a race at Richmond to try to get Martin Truex Jr. into the playoffs.

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