Following R&D inspection after the race, Harvick's #4 vehicle was found to have an altered spoiler. Kurt Busch is the final combatant, as he sits just three points behind Harvick. This prompted NASCAR to levy penalties which include a 40-point deduction and suspension for crew chief Rodney Childers for the remainder of the season, in addition to the aforementioned loss of guaranteed spot in the Championship 4.
Additionally, Miller said NASCAR would review its deterrence model in the offseason and consider stiffer penalties for certain infractions.
The stripping of all win bonuses, plus the championship point reduction, means that Harvick is now just three points above the cutline to advance into the Championship Race.
"This met the shape, and it met the height, and we don't check at track the offset of the spoiler because it's supposed to be a standard part that bolts to a standard deck lid", Miller said.
"Teams should be bringing legal cars to the race track, and we shouldn't have to do those inspections all the time".
"We work tirelessly across every inch of our racecars to create speed, and unfortunately, NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book", Stewart-Haas Racing Vice President of Competition Greg Zipadelli said Wednesday in a statement released by the team.
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Harvick's win at Texas was his series-leading eighth of the year and qualified him for Homestead along with Joey Logano. The team has not made any members available for comment, and Harvick is not scheduled to speak to the media at Phoenix, where he is a nine-time victor.
NASCAR will evaluate its penalty system following the season, a typical procedure and one that could spark additional internal debate about whether NASCAR needs to start disqualifying teams for violations and whether it must crack down on teams failing inspections multiple times prior to qualifying and the race.
What NASCAR essentially did is make the Can-Am 500 a race in which Harvick has to perform well to stay ahead of Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott in the points to secure a spot in the Championship 4.
NASCAR later allowed Miller to answer questions about Harvick's penalty because of the magnitude of the situation.
Also Wednesday, NASCAR penalized the teams of Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, who already have been eliminated from the playoffs. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is fined $50,000, and vehicle chief Kirk Almquist is suspended for the next two races. Crew chief Chris Gayle is fined $50,000, and vehicle chief Jason Overstreet is suspended for the next two races. Once the Harvick violation was discovered late Tuesday, NASCAR had to examine whether the violation was correct and didn't release its findings until the next day - two days before Harvick and his interim crew chief and vehicle chief will practice at Phoenix.