Suspended Rodney Childers defends illegal spoiler, says it didn't lead to Kevin Harvick win

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Suspended crew chief Rodney Childers insisted that the illegal rear spoiler on Kevin Harvick's car did not enable Harvick to win Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway, arguing that other teams were working on their decklids.

A NASCAR official noticed something was amiss with the spoiler Sunday night after Harvick won, and the series took a closer look during its typical race-winner teardown Tuesday at its research center. NASCAR determined that the spoiler -- a spec part that teams are supposed to purchase from Richardson Racing Products and not modify -- had been altered to offset 0.2-0.3 of an inch to the right to help the car turn. NASCAR also thinks that the team manufactured the piece itself.

Childers tweeted Friday morning about why the team used the spoiler, saying the impact of the difference was minimal:

Harvick said he didn't care if people thought the spoiler made a big difference.

"I don't care what people think, and I don't build the cars," Harvick said Friday after winning the pole at ISM Raceway. "I can't tell you what's on the car, what's good, what's bad. That's their job and I drive it. I show up and do the best that I can."

Childers is suspended for the final two races of the 2019 season, and Harvick was stripped of the automatic berth that the win had given him to be among the four drivers competing for the championship next week. Texas was Harvick's eighth win of the season.

Childers indicated that the spoiler was used at Texas only after the team noticed what other organizations were doing two weeks earlier at Kansas.

Former longtime Cup series crew chief Tony Gibson is substituting for Childers.

NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller indicated Wednesday that Harvick's team blatantly violated NASCAR's rules.

"Getting the spoiler further to the right, when the car goes into the corner and sees yaw, that puts more air on the spoiler, and that's definitely aerodynamic performance. ... That has to be a spec part, and it wasn't," Miller said.

Harvick was docked 40 points and sits just three points ahead of Kurt Busch for the fourth spot in the standings. Seven drivers are vying for three championship bids Sunday to join Martinsville winner Joey Logano in the title hunt Nov. 18 at Homestead.