By AMANDA VINCENT
On Thursday, NASCAR announced rules changes, pertaining to at-track inspections, with the goal of issuing necessary penalties at the race track, as opposed to a few days after races. Tuesday or Wednesday-announced penalties won’t completely go away, though.
“Where possible, infractions which occur during a race weekend will be contained to that race weekend,” a memo from NASCAR read. “Significant infractions will still be subject to post-event penalties.”
According to the memo, penalties could be levied at the track for infractions including “radiator, exhaust headers, sway bars, shock absorbers, truck arms, hubs, pinion angle shims, fail inspection two or more times, bump stops.”
Penalties issued at the track could include the loss of a hard card, practice time or pit selection; a car being moved to the back of the field during the race; pass through or stop-and-go pit penalty; or loss of laps. Severity, timing and recurrence of a rules infraction will be taken into consideration when determining witch penalty(s) to issue.
NASCAR also did away from its P1-P6 penalty structure in favor to a two-level system. A level one infraction will result in a points deduction of 10-40 points, a one to three-week suspension and a fine between $25,000 and $75,000. The aforementioned penalties will apply to infractions like violations of the lug nut rule or weight rules.
Level two infractions may result in points penalties up to 75 points, six-week suspensions and fines between $100,000 and $200,000 for more severe violations like illegal testing or fuel additives.
The inspection process is changing, too. There will be three inspections each race weekend. Weekend-opening inspections will cover fuel systems, engines and safety equipment. Then, there will be full inspections pre-qualifying and pre-race.
“Pre-qualifying and and pre-race will consist of a full inspection — fuel systems, engines, safety components, chassis, templates and weights and measurements,” the memo read.
Teams will be required to take their car through four inspection stations and must advance through all stations before work can be done to bring failing cars within spec. Work on cars as a result of failed inspection must be done in garage stalls, not off to the side of the inspection line. The increased time to get through the inspection is expected to be a deterrent to race teams, as multiple passes through inspection could result in missing out on practice time and qualifying.
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