In NASCAR a racing team may change anything on the car except the engine during a race. And seldom has a race been run when there has been at least one car on the track with missing pieces. It has always been a part of racing.
But this season NASCAR is changing the rules when it comes to wrecked cars. Beginning with this season a new Damaged Vehicle Policy will go into effect across the board in all three racing series – Monster Energy Cup Series, Xfinty Series, and the Camping World Truck Series.
Racing teams will no longer be allowed in the garage to make repairs to a car after a crash. The teams will be given five minutes to make any sheet metal repairs on pit road. The ability to make body part repairs is also being eliminated.
Any repair that require more than five minutes on pit road will cause the car to be listed as out of the race. However, once a car returns to the track and demonstrates that the race can be run at the minimum safe speed, the five minute clock will be reset and the driver can bring the car down pit road for repairs if needed.
As one Twitter put it, “this new rule eliminates an unnecessary stop in the garage. Now wrecked cars can drive straight from the track to Dale Jr’s yard.” Dale Earnhardt Jr has a racing car graveyard on his property.
Speaking on the new rule NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said, “we have a lot of cars that are going back on the track that end up in 38th position, for instance, that probably don’t need to be out there from a safety and competition aspect because they always tend to bring out more yellows with stuff falling off.” Miller added that the rule would allow NASCAR officials to better observe repairs to the cars.
The new rule does not apply to mechanical issues not releated to crash damage; ie, transmissions, batteries, etc.
In addition to the repair rule change, NASCAR has also adjusted two pit road related penalties. Any driver who is caught speeding on pit road – in and out – will have 15 seconds deducted from the five minutes clock. Miller noted, “speeding comes with an additional penalty because speeding in or out is a way to circumvent the clock.”
If a team sends more than the allowed six pit crew members over the pit wall, it will result in the car being withdrawn from the race. An additional crew member may be allowed over the pit wall to attend the driver or the windshield but the team must ask for permission from NASCAR first. NASCAR added, “that’s another thing we discussed with the teams and internally. Too many men over the wall is also defeating the purpose of the policy; it would encourage teams to bring extra people well-versed in going over the wall to repair cars. So too many men over the wall just has to signal the end of that car’s day.”
Anyone involved with NASCAR and racing knows that it is a very dangerous sport but NASCAR works very hard to make the sport as safe as possible for the drivers, teams, and fans.
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