NASCAR hits Harvick with L1 penalty for rear window issue
On Wednesday, NASCAR issued the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team two penalties from its inspection at the R&D Center in Concord, N.C.
The team was penalized because its rear window support braces did not keep the rear window glass rigid in all directions at all times as the rulebook requires. The car was also found to have an unapproved right-side rocker panel extension.
The panel extension was found to be made of steel instead of aluminum. A memo directing the change went out to series crew chiefs on Feb. 19.
Crew chief Rodney Childers has been fined $50,000 and car chief, Robert Smith, has been suspended for the next two races. Harvick and the team were each docked 20 points for the Level 1 infractions.
Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition for SHR, issued the following statement after the penalty was announced:
“Late today, NASCAR made us aware of a penalty they’re imposing on our No. 4 Cup Series team. 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.”
The car, which led 214 of 267 laps and swept the stages at LVMS, appeared to have an abnormal bend in the rear window and surrounding roof area when running at speed, something that was highlighted by a user on the NASCAR Reddit site.
Driver Chase Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson even spoke about it over the No. 9 radio during the race.
During an interview on the Sirius/XM NASCAR Channel earlier this week, Childers said, “We had a rear window brace fail. You know, NASCAR mandates that we run a certain T-bar in the back glass and that T-bar is actually pretty strong.
“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 it pulled the roof down. It’s not something that we wanted to happen.”
Harvick will not be able to use the win for playoff purposes but had already qualified for the playoffs with his win at Atlanta the previous week. The team does lose the seven playoffs points from the race and the win can’t be used for tie-breaker purposes.
In addition, Todd Parrott, crew chief of the No. 55 team, was fined $10,000 for having one unsecured lug nut found after the race.
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