Some of the sparkle from Kevin Harvick’s dominating win in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Wednesday when NASCAR announced that the Stewart-Haas Racing team had been penalized for two violations.
The penalties, for violations in the rear window and rocker panels areas of the winning car, include the loss of seven playoff points Harvick scored for winning the race and its first two stages, effectively negating the power of the victory as far as playoff matters are concerned. Last year, a significant violation led to NASCAR declaring a race win “encumbered,” but that description no longer is in use.
Harvick also won at Atlanta and will make the playoffs based on that victory if he doesn’t win again this year.
Harvick also was penalized 20 regular-season points. Car chief Robert Smith was suspended for two races, and crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $50,000.
After inspection at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center, Harvick’s Ford was determined to have violations in the rear window area. The rear window of the car was bowed during at least part of the race after a window brace failed. NASCAR’s rulebook requires the window to be rigid throughout an event.
The team also was penalized because the car’s right-side rocker panel extension was not aluminum, as rules require.
SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said the team will evaluate its options and “continue dialogue with NASCAR to fully understand the rationale behind the penalty.”
Harvick drove to runaway victories at Atlanta and Vegas and will be a heavy favorite as the tour moves on to ISM Raceway near Phoenix this weekend.