Harvick penalized, loses guaranteed playoff spot

Kevin Harvick’s celebration in Texas has been spoiled.A victory in Sunday’s 500-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway had locked Harvick in as the second driver to earn a berth in the four-car Championship Round of the playoffs. But the sanctioning body docked him 40 points after finding illegal alterations to his rear spoiler.Harvick was also barred from using the win as an automatic entry into the final four for the Nov. 18 championship race at Homestead.In addition, the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will be without crew chief Rodney Childers and car chief Robert Smith after both were suspended for the final two races.Joey Logano of Team Penske — who won the previous weekend’s Round of 8 race at Martinsville Speedway — is the only driver locked in to Championship Round.Harvick, despite earning his eighth win of the season, sits in fourth place — three points ahead of Kurt Busch and 17 points ahead of Chase Elliott. He trails Martin Truex Jr. by 25 points and Kyle Busch by 28.The series heads to ISM Raceway in Phoenix this weekend for the final elimination race before the championship.

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