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Harvick criticizes NASCAR
Kevin Harvick criticized NASCAR for the timing of implementing new regulations on rear suspensions for Sunday's Chase for the Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway.  Harvick said the modifications will invalidate countless hours and money spent on research and development by teams trying to catch up with Hendrick Motorsports, which has four cars in the Chase.

"I think it shows (NASCAR is) a little out of touch from what happens on the competition side," Harvick said. "I think the NASCAR trailer misled a lot of competition directors and team owners to believe the rules weren't going to change until we got to 2013.

"There's been millions of dollars spent on a rule that they changed leading into the Chase."

Harvick, the lone Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to make the 10-race title run, said his No. 29 team was among the last to begin focusing on the rear suspensions just past midseason.

"We hadn't perfected it yet," he said. "We have to backtrack a little less than some of the other teams."

NASCAR issued a technical bulletin last week that limited the amount of movement of the bushings -- sleeves made of rubber that allow rear parts more freedom to move and improve steering. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski had noted Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet seemed to have an aerodynamic advantage because of a unique rear setup, and some speculated the rule modification was aimed at Johnson and his Hendrick teammates. Johnson, though, said his setups wouldn't be affected by the change.

"The frustrating part is the time and effort that everyone has spent to catch up," said Harvick, who ranked ninth in points during a winless regular season. "(Hendrick is) still going to be as strong as ever. They're pretty deep." More at USA Today

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