Harvick loses automatic NASCAR championship berth

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"It's unfortunate that now we'll be pulling spoilers off and having to do another inspection when the teams should really be bringing legal cars to the race track", Miller said.

The impact of the penalty stretches behind Stewart-Haas Racing as well.

Harvick's crew chief, Rodney Childers, and auto chief, Robert Smith, were suspended for the final two races of the season.

There is one race to go to set the championship field, Sunday in Phoenix, and star driver Kevin Harvick has been snared in the latest scandal.

Crew chief Rodney Childers has been fined $75,000 and suspended for the remaining races at Phoenix and Homestead. Tony Gibson, who has worked as a crew chief on various SHR cars and now serves as the team's production manager, will fill in for Childers.

Stewart-Haas accepted the penalty and will not appeal, according to vice president of Greg Zipadelli.

With the stakes so high this weekend at Phoenix, where seven drivers will by vying for three open spots in the championship race, NASCAR will check spoilers at the track. Should there be a tie for the final transfer spot, Harvick would not be eligible to use the Texas victory in the tiebreaking procedure. "Instead, we will direct our immediate focus to this weekend's event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack".

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The 2014 Cup Series champion is a nine-time victor at Phoenix, including earlier this year.

He's been in NASCAR's final three of the last four years. This also means that the path for Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola just opened up on championship points.

Harvick is not the only driver to get an L1 penalty.

Zipadelli said in a statement that the team would not appeal the penalty. NASCAR doesn't penalize teams for a prequalifying or prerace inspection failure and penalizes the team practice time the following week for two inspection failures.

Scott Miller, NASCAR's senior vice president of competition, said he felt SHR took the notion of pushing boundaries and exploring technology "into borderline ridiculous territory".

Also Wednesday, NASCAR penalized the teams of Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, who already have been eliminated from the playoffs.

A major penalty following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway has completely changed the complexion of the race to make the Final Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend. He trails Martin Truex Jr.by 25 points and Kyle Busch by 28.

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