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Kevin Harvick stripped of automatic berth in NASCAR championship race

Kevin Harvick has been stripped of his berth in NASCAR's championship race because his winning car failed inspection at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR said Wednesday the discovery made after Harvick's win negates the automatic berth he earned into the finale. The No. 4 had an illegal spoiler.

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The rule in question states that spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer, not altered. The infraction was discovered when NASCAR gave the car a further inspection in North Carolina.

Harvick was docked 40 driver points and the team loses 40 owner points as well. Harvick now enters this weekend's race at Phoenix fourth among the remaining eight playoff drivers, three points above the cutline. Should there be a tie for the final transfer spot, Harvick would not be eligible to use the Texas victory in the tiebreaking procedure.

Crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert Smith were suspended for the final two races of the season. Childers also was fined $75,000.

Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing, said the team will not appeal the penalties.

Zipadelli said Tony Gibson will serve as interim crew chief and Nick DeFazio will be interim car chief.

Harvick's win at Texas was his series-leading eighth in 2018.

He had joined Joey Logano as the only drivers locked into next weekend's championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Now, three spots will be up for grabs in Phoenix.

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