NASCAR’s penalty only figures to give Kevin Harvick extra motivation





(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});



Just what the other NASCAR drivers and teams don’t need: A highly motivated Kevin Harvick at ISM Raceway, where he’s won a record nine times.
Harvick’s now only three points ahead of teammate Kurt Busch for the last Monster Energy Cup Series Final 4 spot after NASCAR hit him and Stewart-Haas Racing with a Joe Frazier haymaker of a penalty Wednesday. Citing an unapproved spoiler found during inspection at its R&D Center, NASCAR ruled Harvick’s victory last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway won’t guarantee him a championship four berth.
Harvick also lost 40 points. His crew chief, Rodney Childers, was fined $75,000 and suspended from Sunday’s Can-Am 500 and the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Veteran Tony Gibson, whose previous drivers have included Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch, will sub for Childers.    
The good news for team owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas is Harvick has won six of the last 10 Cup races on the Avondale oval, including last March. Their three other drivers still have a chance to win the Cup, too. Only three spots remain, however, as Joey Logano’s victory two weeks ago at Martinsville, Va., locked him in.
Harvick and Busch can advance based on points with a good finish Sunday. Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer must win.
Even before the penalty was announced, Harvick — with eight wins this season — had a one-word answer to the question: Will your teammates’ plight affect the way you’ll race?
“No.”
“We’ll wish them the best and, hopefully, something will work out for them,” the No. 4 Busch Light driver told The Republic . “I think their cars will be fast. I think they will have a good opportunity but it won’t change the way I race.”
Aric issue
Almirola said “I don’t know” when asked about Harvick’s help. “I hope that doesn’t have to play out.”
Almirola said he and Logano spoke Monday after some hard late-race racing at Texas left Almirola complaining since Logano had already clinched.
“I think we have an understanding,” Almirola said. “In the heat of battle, sometimes things don’t go your way, and you get upset about it. I was mad and spoke my mind.”
Regardless, Almirola’s first season with Stewart-Haas  has been successful. He won at Talladega Superspeedway last month and came within a half-lap of winning the Daytona 500. He tried to block Austin Dillon and contact between their cars put Almirola into the wall and Dillon into the winner’s circle.  
Almirola moved to the No. 10 Ford with sponsor Smithfield foods after just one victory in six full seasons with Richard Petty Motorsports. Yet he wouldn’t confirm a deal is done to return to SHR next year.
“That’s not necessarily the case,” he said.
Truckin’
The Camping World Truck Series gets the scheduling honor as the first race at the transformed raceway with Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150.
Brett Moffitt, Noah Gragson, Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton will vie for the remaining two spots in the Homestead championship finale. Johnny Sauter and Justin Haley have won the two most recent races and so are in.
Running first, of course, also means the debut of the track’s relocated start/finish line, just before the dogleg. Plenty of Cup Series drivers, who have been wondering if this will be a zone of mayhem, figure to be watching.     
“Last year the Trucks wrecked (on what was then the backstretch) and they were five wide,” Harvick said. “I’d say anything is possible.”
Pit stops
–Jimmie Johnson will answer fan questions today, 4:30 p.m., on the back side of Gatorade Victory Lane facing Modern Margarita.
–With only two races to go in its 17-year sponsorship of Johnson, Lowe’s is remembering that history with a return of its post-Sept. 11, 2001 patriotic “Power of Pride” graphics design on the No. 48 Chevrolet.
–With 18 wins, its most since 2001, Ford is close to its first Cup Series manufacturers’ championship since 2002. 
–Glendale native Michael Madill is a mechanic on William Byron’s No. 24 Hertz Chevy.


Source link
The post NASCAR’s penalty only figures to give Kevin Harvick extra motivation appeared first on MrPolitic.com .

Top News