By AMANDA VINCENT
On Friday evening, NASCAR issued modifications to its behavior policy, making more specific some of the issues that formerly were handled under a vague, “actions detrimental to stock car racing” umbrella rule in the NASCAR rule book. The modifications are aimed at making the penalty process relating to behavioral issues clearer after controversies last season that surrounded a suspension issued to Matt Kenseth after a multi-race spat between Kenseth and Joey Logano and an early-season suspension of Kurt Busch based on a civil court-issued protection against him for ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.
Among the considerations when doling out penalties for behavioral rule infractions, NASCAR will consider when and where the incident being reviewed occurred, how the behavior affects others and NASCAR, and the history of the person(s) under scrutiny.
“To be clear, this is not an effort to change the way the drivers race today,’’ NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy said.. “NASCAR is an aggressive sport. We understand that drivers are going to be aggressive to race for position. That is not going to change. That’s a very significant point. It’s spelled out in the rule and we understand that. We also understand that there are points in time when competitors can cross the line and they should have a better understanding of what exactly may transpire if it’s determined they cross the line.’’
The more specific rules call for a loss of 50-100 points, $150,000-$250,000 fines, and/or two-race suspension for “premeditatedly removing another competitor from championship contention when not racing for position.
Other specific punishments mentioned under the new rules include $50,000-$100,000 fines and/or suspensions for physical confrontations with NASCAR officials, media members, fans, and/or each other. The same punishments apply for attempts to manipulate race outcomes and intentionally wrecking another vehicle.
Also covered under the new rules are public statements that take the form of racial slurs, sexist remarks or are otherwise offensive by negatively referring to someone’s sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicap. NASCAR members, including drivers and other race team members, also may face fines and/or suspension after being charged with or convicted of a serious crime.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner
Here’s a look at the changes in the NASCAR rule book (courtesy of NBC Sports):