Crew chief: You're 'wrong' if you think illegal spoiler was reason Harvick won Texas

Yahoo Sports

Rodney Childers admits that the team’s illegal spoiler modifications added downforce to Kevin Harvick’s car at Texas. But he’s not admitting that the spoiler was the reason the team won the race.

Childers is suspended for Sunday’s race at Phoenix and the season finale at Homestead after NASCAR penalized Harvick for an illegal spoiler following his win at Texas. Harvick clinched a spot in the final four with the Texas win. NASCAR stripped that automatic qualification from Harvick and the team and docked him 40 points in addition to suspending Childers after discovering the spoiler issue.

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The severity of the penalty outlined how serious NASCAR believed the infraction was. However, according to Childers, it wasn’t serious enough to be the reason why Harvick dominated the race.

Yes, Childers is right that there’s a big difference between a spoiler moved to the right two inches and one moved to the right a fraction of an inch like Harvick’s. But the team moved the spoiler to the right to gain that extra downforce. And extra downforce, whether it’s one count or 100 counts, can be beneficial in a two-lap shootout for the win. Harvick sprinted past Ryan Blaney and the rest of the field to seal the win in overtime at Texas.

“But what everybody has to realize is like subtle differences, a quarter inch, a half inch, three‑eighths of an inch, an eighth of an inch even, when it comes to aerodynamic performance in that area, it all means something,” NASCAR vice president Scott Miller said Wednesday when explaining the penalty. “It’s not something that by any means would stick out like a sore thumb.  It’s definitely something that you would have to take a little bit deeper dive to see.”

Besides, Harvick’s team wouldn’t be crazy enough to move the spoiler to the right two inches. That would be immediately noticeable by NASCAR and competitors at the track and invite a ridiculous amount of scrutiny.

Tony Gibson will crew chief for Harvick at Phoenix and Homestead. Gibson has previously been a crew chief for Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch at Stewart-Haas Racing and had moved into a non-traveling role for 2018.

Rodney Childers has been Kevin Harvick’s crew chief since they both came to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. (Getty)
Rodney Childers has been Kevin Harvick’s crew chief since they both came to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. (Getty)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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