The damndest thing happened right after I submitted this for publication. The penalties came down after Las Vegas. Kevin Harvick’s team got hit. Hard. Talk about having to go back to the drawing..er..keyboard.
So, what did they do? Well, according to NASCAR.com, “The team was found to have violated Sections 126.96.36.199 (dealing with rear window support) and 20.4.18 (rocker panel extensions), specifically. A brace that supports the rear window failed and did not meet specifications for keeping the rear window glass rigid in all directions, at all times. Additionally, the rocker panel extension was not aluminum.”
So, though they no longer use the term, the win is encumbered. If you find the term too confusing, buy a dictionary. Crew chief Rodney Childers has been fined $50,000. Car chief Robert Smith has been suspended for the next two races, and the team and driver both lost 20 points. That means, they get to keep the other 40 they picked up on the day. In short, it matters little to Harvick, with that Atlanta win already in the bag.
What does matter is that some good people stepped up when they heard that Matt DiBenedetto’s No. 32 entry was unsponsored going into this one. Harvick donated $5000 to the cause. So did Denny Hamlin. Darrell Waltrip matched them. Talk about good people helping look after their own.
As for our Hot 20 heading to Phoenix…
1. KEVIN HARVICK – 1 WIN – 1 E.W. – 115 Pts
If the penalties in any way mean that Kevin is a bit of a brat, welcome to Harvickville.
2. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN – 94 Pts
After Daytona, when will we next notice him on race day?
3. JOEY LOGANO – 132 POINTS
Three races. Three Top Tens.
4. RYAN BLANEY – 131 POINTS
Took the pole last week, which was about the only thing Harvick did not leave town with.
5. MARTIN TRUEX, JR. – 115 POINTS
Colorado also boasts Boulder, Crabtree, Dillon Dam, and the Great Divide Brewing Companies.
6. KYLE BUSCH – 104 POINTS
If he does not matter it is because he is in the garage.
7. KYLE LARSON – 104 POINTS
Chevrolet was not completely shut out of the Top Ten last week. Damn near, but not completely.
8. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 99 POINTS
Along with Logano and Blaney, Team Penske has done rather well thus far.
9. DENNY HAMLIN – 97 POINTS
The guy is a jerk…then he goes and gives DiBenedetto a helping hand. Still a jerk, but a nice jerk.
10. PAUL MENARD – 96 POINTS
While everyone is watching Harvick up front, Menard is quietly succeeding further back.
11. CLINT BOWYER – 93 POINTS
Some like Nickelback. Others are named Clint Bowyer.
12. ARIC ALMIROLA – 93 POINTS
Failed to stay on the lead lap, but 10th is 10th.
13. KURT BUSCH – 77 POINTS
Kurt + Chase = A bad day
14. RYAN NEWMAN – 75 POINTS
Ooh, and it’s alright and it’s coming on, Ryan’s gotta get right back to where he last won.
15. DARRELL WALLACE, JR. – 68 POINTS
In a seven-race Cup career, Bubba has not done too badly.
16. CHRIS BUESCHER – 67 POINTS
Average a 15th place finish (5th, 25th, 15th) and that gives you a Chase place…for the moment.
17. ALEX BOWMAN – 67 POINTS
How bad has Hendrick got it? Alex is the best of their stable at present.
18. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 66 POINTS
This week…he is going after the hot dog guy.
19. ERIK JONES – 64 POINTS
In 40 career Cup starts, 24 times he has finished in the Top 15. You can build on that.
20. MICHAEL MCDOWELL – 53 POINTS
Mechanical issue killed his day early, yet he keeps on hanging on.