It's no secret by this point that Kevin Harvick has major problems with NASCAR leadership. After his car caught fire at the Darlington race back in September, Harvick went on his since-viral "crappy-ass parts" rant. Throughout the Cup Series playoffs, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has continued to lambast the stock car racing sanctioning body regarding the numerous safety issues with the Next Gen car, which has also caught flack for tire and parts failures. Now, Harvick is facing a massive penalty after failing a post-race inspection at Talladega Superspeedway. Considering he hasn't exactly been in NASCAR's good graces recently, Harvick thinks that NASCAR's decision to target him "seems strange."
He tweeted as much minutes before the official announcement that NASCAR would be docking both Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing 100 points each, as well as fining crew chief Rodney Childers $100,000 and suspending Childers for the next four races. This is all after NASCAR officials allegedly found that Harvick's team had illegally modified his No. 4 Ford Mustang. The specific infraction cited was "modification of a single source supplied part."
Childers had his own brief and sarcastic response to the damning announcement.
— Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) October 5, 2022
Despite the insinuations from Harvick, Childers, and several tin-foil-hat-wearing NASCAR fans on social media, NASCAR President Steve Phelps insisted that NASCAR is not targeting Harvick and that post-race inspections are done completely at random.
"I would say that's ridiculous. No one has a vendetta against Kevin Harvick or Rodney, at all, or anyone at Stewart-Haas Racing," Phelps told the Associated Press. "Our guys are very good. They are going to look at (an infraction). Look at it again. Look at it a third time to make sure there's a penalty and the penalty is right. If the four team thinks that's not right, they will file an appeal."
Harvick isn't the only driver who's challenged NASCAR's response to the recent Next Gen problems, with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott also echoing the claim that more needs to be done. Phelps assured reporters that he will personally be meeting with drivers ahead of the Charlotte race on Sunday and that NASCAR is committed to repairing the seemingly fractured relationship between leadership and the drivers.
"We need to do everything we can to make our drivers feel safe in the vehicles," Phelps said. "We certainly care about their safety. We're working on things to make sure we have a plan moving forward so that gaining trust can be better. Our goal is obviously to be the safest motorsport on the planet."
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