Kevin Harvick has been hit with an L1 penalty following his win at Texas Motor Speedway last week and is no longer automatically locked into the championship four.
His penalty comes with a 40-point deduction, the win is stripped of the bonuses that normally accompany it (including locking into the next round or being used as a tie-breaker), the team loses 40 car owner points, is fined $75,000, crew chief Rodney Childers has been suspended for the next two races (until the end of the season), and car chief Robert Smith has been suspended two races.
That makes this his second encumbered win of the season. Harvick was also issued a penalty for an improper back window at Las Vegas this spring.
The points penalty is the maximum allowed for an L1 penalty. Harvick scored 60 points for his win last week along with two stage wins.
The penaly comes because the team violated Section 20.4.12 a & b in regard to the spoiler - which must be used exactly as supplied by the manufacturer.
Tony Gibson will serve as the interim crew chief.
As a result of the penalty, Joey Logano is the only driver automatically locked into the playoffs.
Kyle Busch remains 28 points above the cutoff line. Martin Treux is 25 points to the good.
Harvick drops to fourth in the standings, but is only three points ahead of his teammate Kurt Busch.
The penalty changes the complexion of this week's race at Phoenix. Harvick is still highly favored, but should something happen to him, there is an easy scenario in which Kurt Busch or Chase Elliott could advance on points.
Two drivers will advance on points now, and while Kyle Busch and Truex's advantage makes them frontrunners, they cannot have trouble early in the race.