As NASCAR continues to make sweeping changes to the sport in terms of competition, yet another new round of changes has come about, this time with NASCAR’s penalty process. On Tuesday, NASCAR announced a brand new penalty structure that is intended to be a more “transparent and effective model”, according to NASCAR’s executive vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell.
The new system is called “NASCAR’s Deterrence System” and is a tiered structure that specifically lays out the types of penalties that will be assessed in direct relation to the infraction. There are six different tiers—ranging from P1 to P6—with P1 being the most minor and P6 being the most severe.
Here is a diagram NASCAR released that explains the different levels of infractions and the type of penalties that will be expected:
NASCAR’s system begins with warnings that are issued for minor infractions before the P1 – P6 structure begins to take effect. Additionally, if any of these penalties are discovered in post-race inspection, additional penalty elements (points, money, etc.) are added on top of normal penalties. Finally, if a team violates a penalty twice, there will be a 50% increase in the severity of the penalty.
Here are the types of penalties associated with each tier structure:
P1 penalties may result from multiple warnings to the same team.
P2 penalties may include but are not limited to violations such as hollow components, expiration of certain safety certification or improper installation of a safety feature, or minor bracket and fasteners violations.
P3 penalty options may include but are not limited to violations such as unauthorized parts, measurement failures, parts that fail their intended use, or coil spring violation.
P4 level infractions may include but are not limited to violations such as devices that circumvent NASCAR templates and measuring equipment, or unapproved added weight .
P5 level may include but are not limited to violations such as combustion-enhancing additives in the oil, oil filter, air filter element or devices, systems, omissions, etc., that affect the normal airflow over the body.
P6 level may include but are not limited to violations such as affecting the internal workings and performance of the engine, modifying the pre-certified chassis, traction control or affecting EFI or the ECU.
Interestingly enough, NASCAR does not have a penalty structure for what they call “behavioral infractions”, which means that “threatening bodily harm” to a journalist will be sorely missing from this year’s rulebook.
NASCAR also changed and further explained the appeals process. Instead of John Middlebrook, who overturned some heavy penalties last season, Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss has been appointed to deal with the final appeals process. NASCAR denied that Middlebrook’s replacement had anything to do with his decisions last season, but it will be interesting to see of Moss has a different view of things once those final appeals are brought to this table.
Staying along the line of “pretty graphics for complicated structures”, here is yet another flow chart for how the appeals process will work:
In a press conference with O’Donnell and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton, Pemberton once again insisted that taking away wins was something that the sanctioning body was still hesitant to consider, saying “we always feel that when the fans leave the racetrack they know who won the race”.
So, race fans, start your spreadsheets and Word documents because with all these new changes, we’ll all be checking our notes on a weekly basis to see what will happen next.
Also, if you want to add to the growing pile of changes, the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series will also follow a P1 – P6 structure, though one that is slightly yes severe.
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