NASCAR rule breakers face playoff exclusion

Next-gen NASCAR in test. Picture: NASCAR Twitter

Teams could be kicked out of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the most serious rule violations under a new regime for the Next Gen era that begins this year.

NASCAR will continue to use a tiered penalty structure, but now has the option of particularly severe penalties for tampering and counterfeiting of Next Gen Single-Supplier Parts.

According to the category’s senior vice president of competition, Scott Miller, there is a direct relationship between the new set of technical rules and the new court rules.

The most serious, L3 sanctions concern the control of Next Gen parts, as well as engine, tire and fuel issues.

“To make sure all of these things stay above the edge, there’s going to have to be a culture shift from how teams and NASCAR, for that matter, have done business,” he said. said Miller.

“So that deterrent model has more meat, more meaningful penalties, but I think we all thought it was time for that with the introduction of the new car.”

The new sanctions regime can be summarized as follows:

L1 Penalties

Offenses include:

  • Post-race failure to meet minimum weight requirements
  • Team stock parts don’t meet NASCAR rules, but don’t earn a top tier penalty
  • Failures in the parts submission and approval process

Penalty options include:

  • Point deductions: 20-75 points
  • Playoff point deductions: 1-10 points
  • Suspension of a crew member for 1 to 3 races
  • Fines: $25,000 to $100,000.

L2 Penalties

Offenses include:

  • Changes to single-source Next Gen parts do not reach L3 violations
  • Violations of engine gasket requirements
  • Unapproved modifications to engine control system wiring
  • Use of unapproved on-board electronics

Penalty options include:

  • Point deductions: 75-120 points
  • Playoff point deductions: 10-25 points
  • Suspension of one or two team members for 4 to 6 races
  • Fines: $100,000 to $250,000

L3 Penalties

Offenses include:

  • Counterfeiting or Modifying Next Gen Single Source Parts
  • Engine violations (cubic inch displacement, compression ratio, assembly and internals) and performance improvements (nitrous oxide, vacuum leaks)
  • Violations of the engine control unit (ECU) or electronic fuel injection (EFI)
  • Modification of tires and/or fuel
  • Private Team Testing Policy Violations

Penalty options include:

  • Point deductions: 120-180 points
  • Playoff point deductions: 25-50 points
  • Suspension of one or two team members for six races
  • Fines: $250,000 to $500,000
  • Cancellation of playoff eligibility regardless of wins, points and other qualifying criteria
  • Suspension of a race for the team, in the event of repeated high-level violations

Teams are said to be broadly supportive of the new system.

“If there are no penalties for modifying parts and parts on the new car, then the business model with a new car will not work,” Miller noted.

“So it was definitely something that was pressed by the teams, and we’re doing our due diligence to establish all the inspection procedures and all the different things.

“The rulebook is a brand new rulebook with a lot more detail than there was in the past.”

Miller further explained that regular season penalties were sometimes not enough of a deterrent for violators.

“If a regular season violation has ramifications in the playoffs, obviously I think teams will take that much more seriously than they ever have with the current playoffs and the playoff point format that we we have,” he added.

The switch to center lock lug nuts with Next Gen brought another rule change.

References to unsecured lug nuts have been replaced with penalties for the loss of an incorrectly fitted tyre/wheel, which still carries a four-stroke suspension for the offending team’s crew chief and two other team members. ‘crew.

The Next Gen cars will make their competitive debut when the 2022 season kicks off next month.

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