nascar penalties

Kevin Harvick expects more suspensions for Rodney Childers; unrepentant about penalty

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A postrace penalty after his victory at Texas Motor Speedway cost Kevin Harvick his crew chief for the final two races of the 2018 season.

But the punishment won’t be a deterrent: Harvick fully expects he will be thrust into a situation without Rodney Childers again.

“It better not be the last time that he gets suspended because I just don’t think you are pushing it hard enough if you’re not,” Harvick said Tuesday night during his “Happy Hours” show on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel. “That’s part of racing. Not something I’m going to apologize for at any point in my career just because of the fact I want my crew chief doing what he has to do to make my car go as fast as he can. Try to work within the rules and find the gray area you can and win some and lose some.”

Childers was benched for mounting an illegal spoiler on the No. 4 Ford at Texas, which was the eighth and final win of a career season for Harvick. The infraction was discovered during a midweek inspection at the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, and NASCAR stripped the championship benefits of the win.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver dominated NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, finishing first in driver rating, fastest laps, fastest on restarts, laps led and green-flag speed.

Harvick also ranked first with 1,990 laps led — the third time in five seasons with Childers that he has topped that category.

During a 2017 episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, Childers said the team’s speed had led to many trips to the R&D Center for extra scrutiny in 2014-15.

Childers lamented the team choosing to back off in practice and qualifying in 2016 to avoid NASCAR attention.

But on Tuesday’s show, Harvick said the attention — and sometimes resulting penalties — were a good thing.

“It’s not going to be the last time my crew chief gets suspended,” Harvick said. “That’s just part of what we do, and if you’re going to be one of the good teams, you’re going to have to push the limits. You’re going to have to be on the verge of getting in trouble all the time.

“You have to push the envelope.”

How did Kyle Larson’s car pass inspection before qualifying but fail after winning the pole?

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LOUDON, New Hampshire – Kyle Larson was removed from the pole position Friday because his No. 42 Chevrolet failed inspection after qualifying with an improper rear decklid fin.

But the same part was found to be in compliance in inspection before qualifying.

How did that happen?

NBCSN analyst Steve Letarte explained during practice Saturday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway how a part that isn’t supposed to be adjusted apparently was between the first and second inspection.

Watch the video above for Letarte’s analysis of the penalty, which will drop Larson to the rear at Sunday’s green flag for the second consecutive race.

 

NASCAR overhauls its system for issuing penalties

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NASCAR has overhauled its deterrence procedures for at-track inspections, focusing on penalizing teams during a race weekend for minor infractions rather than waiting a few days.

Moving away from a six-tier penalty system that had been in place since 2014, NASCAR now will prioritize containing infractions to the race weekend on which they occurred.

Most penalties that once fell on the P1-4 scale and were administered on the following Tuesday or Wednesday now will be dealt with during the race weekend.

The severity, timing and recurrence will determine when penalties are issued, but violations involving such parts as radiators, exhaust headers sway bars, shock absorbers, truck arms, hubs, pinion angle shims, and bump stops could fall under those that could be dealt with at the track.

Among the potential penalties at track: loss of hard cards, loss of practice time, loss of pit selection, rear of field, green-flag pass through and green-flag stop and go.

NASCAR also has eradicated the written warnings that teams received for more than two failures of its Laser Inspection Stations (LIS). A cumulative total of four warnings would have led to the loss of pit stall selection.

Under the new rules, failing inspection twice or more could lead to at-track penalties.

Penalties that rose to the previous level of a P5 or P6 still will be issued after the event. NASCAR has rebranded them L1 and L2 penalties. Among the infractions that fall under those categories: certified chassis, fuel storage, gear ratios, minimum weight and height, traction control, telemetry, electronic fuel injection, fuel additives, tires, illegal testing and fewer than 17 lug nuts.

NASCAR will continue to monitor lug nuts after a race, ensuring teams have all 20 safe and secure on their cars’ wheels. If a team has 17 or fewer lug nuts, it’s an L1 penalty with a three-race crew chief suspension and a $65,000 fine. For 18 lug nuts, a team receives a $20,000 fine and a one-race crew chief suspension. For 19 lug nuts, a $10,000 fine is issued.

The inspection process also is being tweaked. The opening inspection of a race weekend will focus only on fuel systems, engines and safety components.

During prequalifying and prerace inspection, a more rigorous check will be made of fuel systems, engines, safety components, chassis, templates and weights and measurements.

A failure at a station will necessitate a car correcting the problem at its garage stall and then returning to the first station for full inspection (regardless of whether previous stations had been passed; a change from the previous policy).