Harvick loses automatic NASCAR championship berth

Ruben Hill
November 8, 2018

NASCAR also hit Childers with a $75,000 fine.

Harvick was also docked 40 points, making his work to advance even tougher if he doesn't win the only remaining race of the round at Phoenix.

The penalty leaves Harvick clinging to the final playoff spot available on points, as he sits three points ahead of Kurt Busch and 17 points ahead of Chase Elliott going into the elimination race Sunday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. Should there be a tie for the final transfer spot, Harvick would not be eligible to use the Texas victory in the tiebreaking procedure. The No. 35 team of Brennan Poole was issued a safety penalty for the "loss or separation of added ballast" from the truck. Ryan Blaney's No. 12 team and Erik Jones' No. 20 team will each be docked 20 driver and owner points, and both team's vehicle chief and crew chief will be suspended for the final two races of 2018.

"We work tirelessly across every inch of our race cars to create speed, " Zipadelli said.

The team has the right to appeal this penalty, but indicated that they will forgo that option. "We will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack". Now, three spots will be up for grabs in Phoenix. Harvick has won nine times there in the Cup Series over the course of his career including this season's March race.

He's been in NASCAR's final three of the last four years.

Stewart-Haas will not appeal the penalty.

Phoenix is one of Harvick's best tracks. Harvick's auto passed the post-race inspection at TMS. Johnson was sent to the back of the field because NASCAR believed his vehicle failed inspection three times, but he had failed only twice.

He had joined Joey Logano as the only drivers locked into next weekend's championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both drivers were already eliminated from the playoffs in earlier rounds.

Blaney's crew chief Jeremy Bullins and Jones' crew chief Chris Gayle have also been fined $50,000 each. Auto chief Robert Smith has also been suspended for the next two weeks.

Other penalties announced on Wednesday were also of the L1 variety. Inspection was on Tuesday, and the teams do the actual teardown themselves.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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