NASCAR sheds light on Kevin Harvick’s illegal spoiler penalty

NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller held a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday night to discuss the penalty issued to Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 team earlier in the day.

Among the notable comments:

— Teams are required to purchase the spoilers from a single supplier called Richardson. As such, there’s typically no need to check the spoiler at the racetrack because they’re all the same and can’t be modified. However, NASCAR believes the No. 4 team actually manufactured its own spoiler and passed it off as the standard one — except the illegal spoiler was offset to the right in relation to the center of the car, which was “definitely (an) aerodynamic performance (advantage),” Miller said. NASCAR considered making it an L2 penalty (75 points) but settled on the high end of an L1 penalty (40 points).

— A NASCAR inspector at the track had noticed something “a little suspicious” about the spoiler at the track, Miller said. That led officials to further examine it after returning to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in North Carolina. However, Miller said the penalty was not something that was obvious to the eye or stuck out. But once it was discovered and compared against the CAD drawing in the rulebook, Miller said it was “black and white.”

— Due to the No. 4 team’s infraction, Miller said NASCAR will now be unbolting every spoiler and examining them during at-track inspection for the final two races. That will add another step to the inspection process, which NASCAR obviously didn’t want. “It’s unfortunate now we’ll be pulling spoilers off and have to do another inspection,” Miller said. “The teams should really be bringing legal cars to the racetrack and we shouldn’t have to do that inspection all the time.”

Miller made it clear NASCAR is tiring of teams pushing the limits and is ready for a further crackdown. “I think we’re getting into borderline ridiculous territory,” he said. So what does that mean? For one thing, NASCAR is considering disqualifying illegal cars next season, and officials will discuss the possibility during the offseason. “We’ve heard the fans call out to, ‘Why don’t you disqualify the offending car?’ That’s actually a topic of discussion, along with other things related to the deterrence model,” Miller said. He added the penalties and consequences for teams who bring cars that don’t pass inspection or fit within the rules will be increased next season to a harsher level. “We are hoping we can change the culture to where we don’t have to play this cat-and-mouse game with the teams all the time,” he said. “We have to make the consequences more than just saying, ‘Take that off.’ ‘Take that off’ isn’t working anymore.”

— NASCAR will perform an engine teardown and enhanced post-race inspection immediately after the Homestead race (as it has done in the past) rather than wait until midweek to scrutinize the championship car for any funny business. “Homestead could potentially turn into a Sunday night issue, but it certainly won’t be in the middle of the week,” Miller said. “We will be able to have eyes on those cars and see those things quickly at pre-race and post-race at Homestead. We feel good about the process.”

16 Replies to “NASCAR sheds light on Kevin Harvick’s illegal spoiler penalty”

    1. i still think the #4 has more Horsepower under the hood than Any0ne this year.. . He’s jus’ driven away from Every0ne at some point during the Season.. . Maybe Nascar needs to look a little closer at the #4’s engine.. . . None of the 0ther Ford Teams would 0bject ! They can’t keep up with Harvick either. So maybe that tells you something is AmiSS too !

    2. It seems NASCAR wants every car to be exactly the same…you can’t tell one manufacture from the other in most cases except for the stickers. Cars are not as if they came off the show room anymore and don’t fit the standard car template. Guess NASCAR should issue each car, teams don’t build them and just let the drivers compete in the standard car…. nascar is becoming a money hungry joke. No room for innovation in this sport, the thing that got NASCAR where it’s at today.

  1. fact is something was going on for some time, all fords have the same info, had to be something minor, but it was and is the reason he would pull away from all , aero no joke,in aviation for 22 years, seen one degree stop drone crashes to a good flier. of set a fraction oh yes a huge advantage for sure. the 018 season for him now a smut on his record and tony to blame too. i say he should be banned for the rest of the year, period, maybe into 019 races too.just too many good fords to see one dominate.

  2. The penalty should have included all of the points won at the race (my understanding is Harvick won 60 points at Texas, but was penalized only 40).

    The infraction found, according to some, is not why Harvick won. However, what is not known, is the number of undiscovered infractions the car has. The colonial era saying of “Many a little makes a mickle” probably applies. The one discovered infraction, along with the contributions of probably a bunch of undiscovered infractions, might explain why SHR are fast (and note, two other teams also received the same penalty as Harvick, and all three cars had different infractions…one should probably assume all of the big teams are messing around with the rules).

    1. It’s been that way for years, probably forever. Read about the things Holman & Moody, Harry Ranier, Carl Kiekhaefer, Junior Johnson and every other racer did to their cars. Most of the tech and safety features you see in today’s “modern” cars are due to cheats from 30 years ago.

  3. If true, this is a flagrant, egregious, willful, disregard for the rules. One can reasonably deduce that this was not the only time they used the illegal spoiler.

    They just happened to get caught this time. Further, regarding Stewart/Hass didn’t Aric have to start at the back because there was something NASCAR officials didn’t like about the right quarter panel when they saw it on pit road during the pre race festivities?

    It should have been fixed then and there. Just putting them to the rear did not make the car legal.

    Who knows what hanky panky alterations slipped by on the other two cars in that stable?

    Isn’t NASCAR struggling to improve attendance and television ratings? What the #4 car got was a slap on the wrist considering what is at stake.

  4. If inspectors at the track thought something wasn’t right about the spoiler, they should have done something there. I’m sure they could have inspected it further, thus avoiding this entire mess.

  5. NASCAR doesn’t want Ford to win. They made “the call” to insure two Toyotas (or perhaps just one Ford) in the Champ Four at Homestead. Shameful.

  6. NASCAR is run by a bunch of uneducated rednecks! Harvick had the field covered anyway. This is NASCAR’s way of trying to get Chase Elliot into the final four.

  7. IMHO, if the racing wasn’t so boring, and having all the cars setup like IROC from the 80’s, then what do you expect.

    Auto Racing is supposed to highlight the best and brightest of car engineering, driver talent /skill, not mediocrity.

    Everyone will say ” what about Jimmy and Chad, Richard and Dale Inman, Dale Sr., and Shelmerdine…? Smokey Yunick is rolling in his grave (RIP), Dan Gurney too,. If you’re not looking to beat the rules, then you’re not trying.

    It may not sound politically correct, but racing at it’s core is just that,.. COMPETITION, INNOVATION, pushing the limits….

    With the way the “team” concept has taken over, no one has any advantage,… why bother? NASCAR is 5 years away from being a complete “spec” series,….. one body template, spec gears, suspension settings, etc., All aero downforce, super sticky compounds for tires,….

    Hey,… once someone finds out an advantage, it’s made null and void. .3″ to the right? that’s a skosh larger than 1/4 of inch. REALLY? C’mon… it’s not a safety factor, if it went thru tech the first time what difference does it make.

    I look at it this way, if NASCAR wasn’t so bent on making the cars so IDENTICAL, then the teams wouldn’t be looking to find any/all advantages.

    Hard work, creativity, innovation is what made the sport. With the stage racing, we’re approaching WWE type of racing where there’s the good guys vs the bad guys, all scripted…. SMH

    1. “Auto Racing is supposed to highlight the best and brightest of car engineering, driver talent /skill, not mediocrity”
      I think it depends on the type of auto racing, but regardless it’s always within a ruleset.
      The spoilers are mandated/provided to the teams, for a team to make their own and not to spec for that matter is blatant, intentional cheating. It’s not a gray area like other teams have broken rules of over the years, it’s a clear cut rule.

      btw .3″ would make a larger difference than one might think

  8. Reminds me of MLB and cheating players then lying and/or saying “everyone does it”. Just look at MVP Braun’s lies… or those in years of brazen lies from bicyclist Lance Armstrong.
    Clean up the sport, NASCAR! No mercy. for offenders, no matter how
    many there are. MLB did it! bicycling did it!
    Pretty brazen to install one’s own illegal spoiler as they did on his car. Rules are clear- everyone must use the manufacturer’s spoiler and do no alterations.
    A 2 week suspension for the main cheater is not sufficient to make NASCAR a clean sport. Bigger and longer penalties will Work wonders.

  9. I personally wouldn’t want to watch if teams weren’t trying to find any little way to gain an edge.

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