Today NASCAR announced more changes to on track competition for the 2017 season.
The changes, which will cover all three national touring divisions, will mostly be noticed on pit road. Teams will now be on a five-minute clock to fix any repairs that NASCAR deem unsafe for continued competition.
Additionally, NASCAR must deem the car eligible to return to competition.
This means, in many cases, no more carelessly-slapped-on 200 mph tape and no more fresh body panels to replace destroyed ones. Each car must meet a minimum speed standard set by NASCAR prior to the event to return successfully to competition.
Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of safety and competition, told NASCAR.com, “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.”
Miller went on to add, “They always seem to bring more yellows out with stuff falling off.”
It was noted in the rule changes that any team suffering from non-crash damage, such as an electrical failure, will not be under the new rules system. Any team deemed to fall into this category will still be allowed to fully repair their car with no time limit and can also use the garage area to affect repairs.
“We’re not going to tell a guy who breaks his transmission at Watkins Glen or Pocono, for instance, and coasts into the garage area that he’s out, because that doesn’t create an unsafe situation; that is a mechanical failure, Miller said.
Other changes that will drastically shake things up include the adjustment of how NASCAR applies pit road speeding violations. Any damaged car caught speeding will lose 15 seconds of repair time, and any team that sends too many crew men over the wall will be removed from the race.
Each team is currently allowed six individuals over the wall unless otherwise specified by NASCAR. If a team sends over extra men without NASCAR’s approval that team will be removed from competition for the remainder of the event.
Teams will apply these and the other new competition rules for the first time later this month, as NASCAR’s top three national touring divisions converge on Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks and the 59th running of the Daytona 500.
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