Las Vegas winner Stewart-Haas Racing has been issued an L1-level penalty by NASCAR following post-race inspection at the R&D Center.
Kevin Harvick’s No.4 Ford was found to have two violations. The first concerned a support brace for the rear window. The brace failed and caused the window glass, which NASCAR requires to be rigid in all directions at all times, to cave in. This falls under section 18.104.22.168 of the rulebook.
It was also determined that the rocker panel extension was not made of aluminum, as required per section 20.418.
“Late today, NASCAR made us aware of a penalty they’re imposing on our No. 4 Cup Series team,” said Greg Zipadelli, Vice President of Competition, Stewart-Haas Racing. “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 infraction carries a $50,000 fine for crew chief Rodney Childers and a two-week suspension for car chief Robert Smith. The car chief is responsible for implementing the setup of the car during race weekend and seeing that it gets through inspection.
The No.4 team has also lost 20 driver and owner points, as well as the playoff points associated with the win. Harvick won all three stages of last Sunday’s race but will no longer have the seven points (five points for the win, two points for each stage win) count toward the playoffs.
Childers admitted to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio earlier this week that the brace had failed after pictures surfaced on social media questioning the look of the rear window.
“We’re going to learn from this,” said Childers. “It’s not something that we wanted to happen. You definitely don’t want the back of the roof sharp, you want the back of the roof round and you want that to be a smooth transition. I think that everybody thinks that it helps. I would suggest that it probably didn’t help.
“The wind tunnels don’t blow fast enough to even get to that speed to know whether it was good or bad. It’s something that we’ve got to address. We’ve already addressed it on the California cars, and [are] making the roof stiffer in that area and trying to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. The car [in Las Vegas] was plenty fast enough before that happened, and I think everybody in the garage knows that, and it’s just something that we need to put behind us and move on.”
SHR does have the option to appeal the penalty.
NASCAR also handed down a safety penalty to the No.55 team for not having a lug nut properly secured. Crew chief Todd Parrott has been fined $10,000.