Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Hallman: Harvick's penalty a stain on NASCAR at inopportune time

Those postrace inspections include a check at the track, then closer scrutiny after the car has been hauled to NASCAR’s Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. That’s where Harvick’s Ford was found to have an unapproved spoiler.

The spoiler — the metal flare affixed to the car’s trunk to provide critical aerodynamic downforce — is important at a track such as Texas Motor Speedway, where Sunday’s race was held and where top speeds surpass 200 mph.

With NASCAR bearing down on what’s supposed to be a grand finale, we’re reminded that fans can’t be sure about the validity of a race result for days after the checkered flag waves.

Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. moved ahead of Harvick in the points race, improving their odds of making the final four.

In a footnote to the inspection process, NASCAR made an embarrassing goof at Texas, penalizing Jimmie Johnson’s team for failing to pass the prerace tech three times.

But goofs like the Johnson penalty and taking days to complete the process that resulted in Harvick’s punishment leave a stain on the sport.

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