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Kevin Harvick: Hit with Major Penalty

Kevin Harvick: Hit with Major Penalty

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.

Kevin Harvick has been stripped of the playoff points he earned for winning at Las Vegas because of violations discovered on his Ford. This falls under section 20.4.8.1 of the rulebook.

The team also was penalized because the car's right-side rocker panel extension was not aluminum, as rules require. "We're going to take the time and evaluate our options, and we plan to continue dialogue with NASCAR to fully understand the rationale behind the penalty".

Crew chief Rodney Childers will be fined $50,000, and vehicle chief Robert Smith has been suspended for the next two races. The issue was not discovered while the auto was standing still during pre- or post-race inspection but was noticeably different during the race broadcast.

The team was also docked 20 driver and owner points.

But the playoff points are big, as drivers carry those through to start the first three rounds of NASCAR's 10-race elimination-style playoffs come September. The rear window of the vehicle was bowed during at least part of the race after a window brace failed.

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"We're going to learn from this, " he said on Tuesday, before the punishment came down, via Auto Week. "It's not something that we wanted to happen".

"The bottom of the glass got strengthened up and the T-bar is stiff, and the center brace that holds that T-bar is what bent and failed and the T-bar ends up being stronger than the back of the roof at that point and then pulled the back of the roof down".

"I don't really know how I can ever thank these folks enough - from all of the drivers and teams who offered to help to Zynga Poker, Enlisted Nine, and Pit Stops for Hope all stepped up to give us a fully sponsored race vehicle for Phoenix".

"The outpouring of support we got from the NASCAR community, and beyond, was beyond words".

On NASCAR Radio on SiriusXM, Childers said that the incident was unintentional and wouldn't happen again.

If determined to overturn the ruling, the #4 team may appeal the penalties to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel. Although crew chiefs are typically suspended under L1-level penalties, NASCAR felt the importance of the vehicle chief in this particular infraction outweighs that of the crew chief.