Kevin Harvick fails inspection, loses guaranteed spot in NASCAR Championship 4

Johnson's struggle a 'reality check' for Harvick

Kevin Harvick’s race-winning car fails inspection; had illegal spoiler during inspection

Additionally, Harvick has been docked 40 driver points and the team loses 40 owner points. Just how much of an advantage Harvick had is irrelevant: The levels of deceit NASCAR believes Stewart-Haas Racing went to were so devious the intent can't be questioned.

Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team only have themselves to blame for NASCAR issuing a potential championship-crippling penalty on Wednesday.

The stiff penalty on Harvick and SHR is for an issue related to the rear spoiler according to Section 20.4.12 of the NASCAR Rule Book.

In addition, the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will be without crew chief Rodney Childers and vehicle chief Robert Smith after both were suspended for the final two races. The points penalty dropped him to fourth in the standings among the remaining eight playoff drivers, three points ahead of the cutoff.

The illegal spoiler was not found until the No. 4 Ford received a thorough inspection at NASCAR's Research and Development Center when it was returned to North Carolina after Sunday's race.

Few sports have as complicated a relationship with cheating as NASCAR does. Logano is not making any friends during his run for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series championship. One of his victories came in the spring, part of a three-race winning streak marred by an illegal auto at Las Vegas one week earlier.

"Teams should be bringing legal cars to the race track, and we shouldn't have to do those inspections all the time".

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NASCAR takes the winning vehicle, the runner-up and any other cars it determines - either by "random" or by choice - to its research center in North Carolina for additional inspection, a process that often takes a few hours.

"As black and white as it gets", Miller said in a Wednesday night conference call. We have small windows and tight windows to get the inspections done, and we might spend in the neighborhood of five minutes with each of the 40 cars for the three-hour window that we have for inspection. Cars will not be taken to the R&D Center after that race. It led to a larger NASCAR investigation that uncovered at least one other case of race manipulation.

"We're thrilled that NASCAR fans have chosen the new ISM Raceway and the Can-Am 500 as a must-see event", said Julie Giese, President of ISM Raceway.

"We need to change the culture to where we don't have to play this cat and mouse game with the teams", Miller said. Cars will undergo complete inspection at the track just as the winning auto does after the Daytona 500.

Right now, there are four drivers on the outside of the playoff picture for next Sunday's final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Included in the penalty was a 40-point deduction, and Miller was asked why it wasn't more severe and if penalties could be more severe in the future.

"We'll just ramp up the intensity of keeping people with eyes on those cars throughout the weekend and scrutinize those cars heavily, both before and after the race", he said.

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