NASCAR Cup: NASCAR changes penalty possibilities before Chase
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR has updated a few of its rules heading into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, set to begin Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
The changes include allowing NASCAR officials to take way some or all of the benefits of race wins, including the automatic advancement to the next round of the Chase, normally a perk of winning a race in the 10-race Chase, if a race-winning team fails a post-race lug-nut check or post-race laser inspection.
To be specific, race-winning perks may be stripped if a post-race laser inspection is failed because the race car’s rear toe measurement exceeds the maximum allowable measurements on both sides of the car, warranting a P4 penalty. Cars would also face a similar penalty if 17 or fewer lug nuts (of a total 20) are in place and with proper tightness after a race.
“The changes are made to assure that we have a level playing field and make sure that there’s not a carrot out there for the team to have excessive violations when it comes to lug nuts and the LIS post-race measurements,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said in a teleconference on Wednesday. “As we worked with those penalties during the season, we realized we probably needed to have a little bit more in place as Chase time rolled around.”
Previously, one or more missing lug nuts resulted in a one-race suspension and fine for a crew chief. Post-race laser inspection failures previously carried points deductions for driver and car owner and fine for the crew chief, with amounts varying, depending on the severity of the failure. But if the failing car was the race winner, the benefits of the win were maintained.
The aforementioned changes also apply to the inaugural chase for the Xfinity Series. The change to the lug nut rule applies in the upcoming initial chase for the Camping World Truck Series, too, but that series does not have post-race laser inspection.