NASCAR America: Why Kevin Harvick penalties could be a ‘game-changer’

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Could a NASCAR paradigm shift occur based on how photographs are used to levy penalties on teams?

The punishment to Kevin Harvick’s team after its victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has NBCSN analyst Jeff Burton wondering.

On Thursday’s NASCAR America (video above), Burton said the penalty was “really interesting because the rear window penalty is really from pictures and things seen on the racetrack. Now NASCAR said the brace failed and did not hold the window in a rigid fashion.

“The question I’ve got moving forward is does this mean that we’re going to use photographs during the races to determine if someone is going to be penalized or not. Because if pictures are going to be taken to determine if a body was held rigid, there’s going to be a lot of penalties because there are a lot of moving parts on these race cars today.

“You can see rear windows moving. You can see sides of cars moving. I think this is going to cause something the public may never see, but all of a sudden cars getting much more rigid in regards to rear windows, sides, quarter panels moving. These teams are very, very smart and are very creative, and I think this is going to cause a ripple effect. There’s going to be a lot of crew chiefs walking into the NASCAR hauler wanting to understand exactly what this means going forward because, again, if NASCAR’s going to use pictures to help determine if penalties need to happen or not, it’s going to be a game-changer.”

A decision on whether Harvick’s team will appeal the penalty could be announced Friday.

The rear window of Harvick’s No. 4 Ford appeared to be bowed in during the race, causing a stir on social media and on opposing teams’ radios as images of the car went viral. On his podcast this week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. marveled at the impact of the Reddit community on NASCAR.