TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Stewart-Haas Racing said Monday it will not appeal Kevin Harvick's disqualification at Talladega despite claims from the crew chief that cheating did not cause their loose windshield.
Harvick became the first driver disqualified at Talladega Superspeedway since 1972.
Harvick lost to Ryan Blaney at Talladega on Sunday in a drag race to the finish line. The margin of victory was 0.012 seconds and Harvick was credited with a second-place finish in the final superspeedway race ahead of his retirement at the end of the season.
Some two hours after the race, NASCAR disqualified Harvick, saying the windshield fasteners on the No. 4 Ford were not secure in post-race inspection. The disqualification dropped Harvick from second to 38th — his first last-place finish of the season — and stripped him of all stage points earned Sunday.
Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief Rodney Childers, in a since-deleted social media post, chalked the loose windshield up to rough racing conditions for 500 miles and not cheating.
“There have been times I’ve got caught doing something I shouldn’t have. ... got DQ’d for the car buffering in the draft all day and some windshield bolts vibrating out. My guys had silicon on the threads and gobbed on the tip. Still came out. Not sure what else we could do,” Childers wrote Sunday night on X, formerly Twitter. The post was deleted by Monday morning.
SHR said Monday that bolts had fallen out during the race and the team would not appeal the DQ.
“At the completion of the race, not all of our windshield fasteners were secure, as we had bolts that hold the windshield in place back out over the course of the 500 miles. We are in the process of diagnosing why this happened and how to prevent it moving forward,” the team said in a statement.
“We are disappointed in NASCAR’s decision to disqualify our racecar and the hard-earned finish by our driver and team, but we will not appeal. Our complete focus is on the remaining races on this year’s schedule.”
It was the first disqualification of a Cup driver at Talladega since May 7, 1972, when the restrictor plate fell out of Marty Robbins' carburetor on his Dodge.
Even before the disqualification, Harvick's winless streak in his final season stretched to 43 races dating back to last year. Harvick was eliminated from the playoffs after the round of 16.
He had joked the fans might have torn the Talladega grandstands down if he’d won, but settled for just not crashing.
“That would have been great. Talladega has been so up-and-down through the years,” Harvick said. “We’ve had some great moments and some bad moments. The last superspeedway race and we went out with everything rolling, so that’s a good thing.”
AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing
Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press