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The Art of Racing - Harvick hit with penalty
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Kevin Harvick has been the man to beat all year long in the Cup Series. He’s been first or second in the standings for the last five weeks and his 44 playoff points entering Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 led all drivers. His win last week, and his seven regular-season wins made it easy to see why he has been such a favorite to win it all.

Wednesday’s post-race inspections changed everything.


It was all good until NASCAR found that Harvick’s spoiler did not meet the post-race inspection standards. As a result, the automatic advancement to the Championship was taken away and 40 points were deducted. Harvick’s crew chief was fined $75,000 and has been suspended for the final two races of the season. Joey Logano is now the only driver locked into the Championship race.


The 40-point deduction leaves Harvick fourth in the standings behind Logano, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., and only four points ahead of Kurt Busch for the final transfer spot.


Here are the scenarios for moving on to the final four, according to Nascar.com.


Kyle Busch

Busch would clinch with 31 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex Jr., Harvick or a non-playoff driver), he would clinch with 28 points. With a win, he would clinch.


Truex Jr.

 Truex would clinch with 34 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Kyle Busch, Harvick or a non-playoff driver), he would clinch with 31 points. With a win, he would clinch.


Harvick

If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Kyle Busch, Truex Jr. or a non-playoff driver), he would clinch with 53 points. With a win, he would clinch. Harvick could also clinch on points with a new winner, but would need help depending on the winner.


Kurt Busch

The only guaranteed result that gives Kurt Busch a Championship 4 spot is a win. Busch could also clinch on points, but would need help depending on the winner.


Chase Elliott

The only guaranteed result that gives Elliott a Championship 4 spot is a win. Elliott could also clinch on points, but would need help depending on the winner.


Aric Almirola

Almirola can only clinch a spot with a win.


Clint Bowyer
Bowyer can only clinch a spot with a win.