Harvick crew chief: Illegal spoiler didn’t win race

NASCAR

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Suspended crew chief Rodney Childers vowed that the illegal rear spoiler on Kevin Harvick‘s car did not win Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, arguing that other teams were working on their decklids.

A NASCAR official noticed something amiss with the spoiler Sunday night following Harvick’s Texas win, and the series took a closer look during its typical race-winner teardown Tuesday at its research center. NASCAR determined the spoiler — a spec part that teams are supposed to purchase from Richardson Racing Products and not modify — had been altered to offset 0.2-0.3 inches to the right to help the car turn. NASCAR also believes the team manufactured the piece itself.

Childers tweeted Friday morning why the team used the spoiler, saying the impact of the difference was minimal:

Childers is suspended for the final two races of the 2019 season, and Harvick was stripped of the automatic berth that the win had given him to be among the four drivers competing for the championship next week.

It was Harvick’s eighth win of the season, and Childers indicated the spoiler was used at Texas only after the team noticed what other organizations were doing two weeks earlier at Kansas.

Former longtime Cup Series crew chief Tony Gibson is substituting for Childers.

NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller indicated Wednesday that Harvick’s team blatantly violated NASCAR’s rules.

“Getting the spoiler further to the right, when the car goes into the corner and sees yaw, that puts more air on the spoiler, and that’s definitely aerodynamic performance. … That has to be a spec part, and it wasn’t,” Miller said.

Harvick was docked 40 points and sits just three points ahead of Kurt Busch for the fourth spot in the standings. Seven drivers are vying for three championship bids Sunday at ISM (formerly Phoenix) Raceway to join Martinsville winner Joey Logano in the title hunt Nov. 18 at Homestead.

Practice and qualifying for the Phoenix race is Friday.

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