Kevin Harvick is enjoying a resurgence in winning the last two races on the NASCAR docket.
Harvick returned to Victory Lane in an emotional and dominating win at Atlanta, and last week he improved upon that dominance in winning Las Vegas by almost three seconds over second place finisher Kyle Busch while leading 214 of 267 laps.
Kyle Larson finished in third place over 13 seconds behind Harvick.
Harvick however was found to be in violation of two NASCAR rules, and will not only not gain any points earned from winning the race and both stages, but he will lose 20 driver points, and 20 owner points, along with his Car Chief being suspended for two weeks and his Crew Chief being fined $50,000.
A rear window support had allegedly broken, which allowed the rear window to buckle at higher speeds at the end of the straightaways. I say “allegedly” because nothing had been said that can prove that this violation was or was not done purposely, and there is no history upon which to not believe the word of everyone involved.
Pundits and experts alike have opined about whether the window flexing does, or does not give the car an aerodynamic advantage. Here is what former NASCAR Crew Chief Shawn Parker from Canandaigua said when I asked him about it, “Absolutely the right rear corner of the roof is very crucial for downforce, with that area being lower it adds more downforce to the rear spoiler. The cars today have a smaller spoiler, and anytime you can direct air to it the better you will be. At Daytona and Talladega you want less downforce, so it’s opposite you would push the back of the roof up and bubble the rear glass as high as the rules and templates allow you to, that directs the air away from the spoiler.”
Parker is a graduate of Canandaigua Academy with roots in local dirt racing, and was rear tire specialist for Jeff Gordon when he broke into NASCAR, then went on to be Car Chief for Mark Martin, and Crew Chief for Dale Jarrett.
Another major issue coming out of the first few races is how the NASCAR issued lug nut guns have been malfunctioning. NASCAR mandated that teams must use guns that they supply in another effort to cut down on costs in the interest of parity amongst team owners, and as is often the case with equipment that is supplied by the company at a reduced cost, the guns have not been working properly in many cases.
This week’s race is at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. ISM is a one mile tri-oval, and is undergoing a major multi-million dollar renovation which will include moving the start-finish line.
Ironically Kevin Harvick has the most NASCAR Monster Series wins there with eight, the last being the Spring race of 2016. Historically the track seems to have favored the Chevrolet SS having won eight of the last ten.
37 cars have registered to qualify for the TicketGuardian 500 on Sunday. Race time is 3:30PM on FOX.
I think Harvick cools off a bit this week. It is very difficult to win three straight races in NASCAR, and I think that a Toyota makes it’s way into Victory Lane with Kyle Busch.
Busch is due at Phoenix with his last desert win coming in the Fall race of 2005.
Keep it shiny side up!