Kevin Harvick loses spot in final four after Texas penalty

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/205/" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Harvick">Kevin Harvick</a>’s win Sunday at Texas no longer counts for automatic qualification into the championship race
Kevin Harvick’s win Sunday at Texas no longer counts for automatic qualification into the championship race

Was Kevin Harvick’s secret for speed at Texas an illegal part?

Harvick’s win in Sunday’s race no longer counts for a berth in the Cup Series’ championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks after NASCAR said Wednesday that the team had violated the rules regarding the spoiler on his car. Harvick led 177 of 337 laps at Texas and sprinted past Ryan Blaney on the last restart for the win.

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.

Harvick was penalized 40 points and the win was stripped for championship purposes — though Harvick is still officially counted as the race winner. That leaves Joey Logano as the only driver qualified for the final four with one race remaining in the second round. Logano won the first race of the third round at Martinsville.

Harvick clinched his spot with that Texas win, if only for a few days. He’s now fourth in the points standings, three points ahead of teammate Kurt Busch in fifth. The top half of the remaining eight playoff drivers race for the championship in Miami on Nov. 18.

Harvick has eight wins in 2018. He’s now been significantly penalized after two of them. NASCAR penalized the team after Harvick won at Las Vegas earlier in the spring.

Stewart-Haas Racing is not appealing the penalty. Crew chief Rodney Childers is suspended for the rest of the season. Tony Gibson will be Harvick’s interim crew chief.

REVISED POINTS STANDINGS

1. Joey Logano
2. Kyle Busch, 4,128 points
3. Martin Truex Jr., 4,125
4. Kevin Harvick, 4,103
5. Kurt Busch, 4,100
6. Chase Elliott, 4,086
7. Aric Almirola, 4,068
8. Clint Bowyer, 4,052

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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