Last night was shaping up to be a good one for Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet. Harvick had a strong showing in the first of the night’s duel races. He finished second. Following the race Harvick joined the FOX broadcast panel to discuss the upcoming second duel. While with the panel Harvick was notified that his car had failed post-race inspection thus wiping away his second place finish and good starting spot for the Daytona 500. Upon hearing the news in the booth Harvick seemed confused as to why his car would have failed the inspection.
Team Chevy and Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli have officially released a statement explaining why Harvick’s car failed the inspection.
“The track bar had more rake in it than allowed after the qualifying race. (John) Darby and them are up top; we’ll wait for them to come down and see what it is. I guess they’re telling us we’re starting at the rear. It’s one of those areas. There’s a rule, it’s three inches. Everybody in the garage has adjusted their cars during the race and it’s never been an issue afterward. But I mean it’s a different deal here. We need to figure that stuff out on our side and make sure we don’t put ourselves in this position again.”
Zipadelli and Team Chevy also addressed whether or not this gave Harvick any sort of advantage over the rest of the field during the race.
“You can dictate the rear travel, the amount the car travels by the amount of rake you have in it. That’s kind of how we got on that rule; people were coming up with just ridiculous amounts of track bar rake and it was pulling the back of the car down so they came up with this rule and you can only have three inches of rake. It doesn’t matter where. You can have it way down on the bottom if you need rear grip, you just can’t have more than three inches. It went through (inspection) that way. They go down and check you every week. It just came back with more than it was supposed to have. For something that honestly as little as it was didn’t probably amount to anything other than changing the handling characteristics of the car.”
Immediately following the news of the failed inspection many NASCAR insiders were wondering if it was something that Harvick changed during the race or if he snuck it through pre-race inspection. Further review of his pit stops do show that the team did adjust the track bar during the race, but it’s impossible to say for sure if that was when they broke the rule.
The failed inspection will result in Harvick forfeiting what would have been a second or third row starting spot. Harvick will now take the green flag this Sunday at Daytona from the 38th spot on the grid. Luckily for Harvick, the poor starting position will be the only penalty that he receives. Since the duel races are used for qualifying, the penalty is far less severe than if he would have failed an inspection after an actual race.