NASCAR has a new system in place for issuing penalties during the course of a race event.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIc
On Thursday, NASCAR announced a rule book update that imposes stricter penalties against race teams, in all three national divisions, that fail inspection at any point during a race weekend.
The most notable takeaway is that NASCAR officials have revised their deterrence model and that penalties will now arrive quicker and heavier than in previous seasons. Where possible, infractions that occur during a race weekend will be enforced during the event.
In other words, there will be less waiting until Tuesday or Wednesday to learn the severity of a given penalty. However, significant infractions will still be subject to post-event retribution.
With the change, NASCAR has made it an increased inconvenience to fail any of the four inspection stations. A failure at a station will require a car correcting the problem back in its assigned garage stall and then returning to the first station for a full inspection — regardless of if that station was previously passed.
Last season, teams simply pulled their car out of line after a tech failure and then returned to the offending station after changes were made.
The new transparent penalty model replaces the P1-through-P6 penalty classification, which had been in effect since 2014. The new system grades significant penalties into Levels 1 and 2, both of which involve loss of championship points or team member suspensions that increase based on severity.
Those penalties will come down after an event weekend and are for the following infractions:
Level 1 potential infractions include:
Certified chassis, fuel storage, gear ratios, minimum weight, heights, less than 17 lug nuts after the race, laser inspection station
Same-weekend infractions include those involving parts such as radiators, exhauster headers, sway bars, shock absorbers, truck arms, hubs, pinions angle shims, and bump stops. The penalties for such infringements include loss of hard cars, practice time, pit selection, rear of field and green flag pass-throughs.
The loss of hard cards is especially damning because those crew members who have theirs revoked will have to pass through the NASCAR credential hauler each weekend. Those crew members will have to stand in a lengthy line to enter the track each weekend after the garage has already opened.
It’s also worth noting that the weekly inspection process is also getting altered. The first inspection will only focus on fuel system, engines and safety components. During pre-qualifying and pre-race inspection, a more dynamic check will be made of fuel systems, engines, safety, chassis, templates, weight and measurements.
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES MINIMUM PENALTY OPTIONS
SUSPENSION OF CREW CHIEF AND/OR OTHER TEAM MEMBERS
$100K to $200K
10 to 40
1 to 3 Races
$25K to $75K
Encumbered finishes still allow wins to count on the official record, no disqualifications, but carry with them the above penalties and the risk of having playoff points stripped for the result.