The “crappy-ass parts” have bitten Kevin Harvick in the, well, ass.
On Wednesday, NASCAR announced Harvick has received an L2 penalty that includes a 100-point reduction plus a fine of $100,000 and four-race suspension for crew chief Rodney Childers. As there are five races remaining in the season, Childers will return for the finale at Phoenix.
Harvick is the third driver to suffer the penalty after fellow Fords Brad Keselowski and Michael McDowell. The infraction focuses on the modification of a part manufactured by a central company before being provided to teams, of which there are many on the Next Gen car. Such violations fall under Sections 14.1.C, D, and Q of the rulebook concerning disallowed body changes. 14.1.Q particularly centres on elements that could impact the aerodynamics of a car.
While he is not the first person to receive such discipline, Harvick’s punishment comes at a rather interesting time as he and fellow driver Denny Hamlin have been major critics of the Next Gen car’s parts and safety. At Darlington in September, Harvick’s car suddenly caught fire from an exhaust problem and eliminated him from the playoffs; while NASCAR subsequently allowed intumescent coatings to mitigate the problem, the driver had already made his grievances clear with the above quote.
Shorty before NASCAR announced the penalty, Harvick tweeted, “Seems strange…”
Childers, who has also voiced his frustration with the car, called it a “Shocker…..”
Due to his first-round elimination, Harvick is guaranteed to finish sixteenth in points. It will be his worst standings placement since finishing nineteenth in 2009.