NASCAR inspection warnings threaten pit selection for Harvick

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FORT WORTH, Texas – In the wake of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team losing its pit stall selection because of a fourth warning for inspection failures, other championship contenders are facing the same fate.

Kevin Harvick‘s team has compiled three warnings since August, when NASCAR revamped its policy so that a fourth warning ensured the loss of pit selection for a race. If the fourth warning is issued before pit selection occurs after qualifying, the penalty is enforced for that race. Otherwise, it is assessed in the next event.

That means if the No. 4 team of Harvick was to receive a warning in prerace inspection Sunday for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the penalty would be enforced next week at Phoenix International Raceway — where a tight pit lane magnifies the importance of stall selection. A prequalifying warning next week also would result in loss of pit selection at Phoenix.

If a fourth warning was issued in prerace inspection at Phoenix or prior to qualifying at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the loss of pit selection would be enforced in the championship finale.

Unlike other NASCAR penalties, warnings can’t be appealed.

Harvick’s warnings were amassed at New Hampshire (twice) and Charlotte.

There are two more remaining title-contending teams currently with two warnings: Joey Logano‘s No. 22 (Bristol and Charlotte) and Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 (Bristol and Charlotte). Two have a warning apiece: Kurt Busch (Dover) and Martin Truex Jr. (Dover).

Brad Keselowski‘s No. 2 Ford has zero warnings after his team’s total was reset following a fourth warning that resulted in loss of pit selection last month at Kansas Speedway.