NASCAR officials announced a major change on Feb. 5 to the post-race inspection and penalty process used across all three national series beginning with the 2019 season: if a team wins the race by bending or breaking the rules, it’ll lose the victory.
“I think for us, we’re really looking at a total culture change,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and Chief Racing Development Officer, told NASCAR.com.
“We’re going to put it on the teams to bring their equipment right. When they come to the track, we’ll be much less lenient as they go through technical inspection with stiffer penalties in terms of qualifying, and then ultimately during the race, obviously we want everyone to be racing straight up.”
An onsite post-race inspection will be conducted on the first- and second-place cars in each race, plus at least one other randomly selected vehicle. This process should be completed in about 90 minutes to two hours after the checkered flag waves. If any of those cars fails the inspection, they will be stripped of their position and credited with last place, the rest of the field moving up accordingly.
Disqualified teams will not receive stage points, playoff points, automatic playoff berths or playoff advancement, either.
“Times have changed. We’ve moved forward with a lot of things,” Jay Fabian, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series managing director, said. “So it’s up to the teams to behave the right way and if they don’t, they’ll get a DQ.”
The very first NASCAR race in 1949 involved a race win being taken away, as first-place Glenn Dunaway was found guilty of using illegal springs. Second-place Bill France disqualified himself to avoid impartiality, giving the victory to third-place Jim Roper.
Fan outcry following the Wednesday penalty reports was cited as a contributing factor to this decision, according to NASCAR.com. All cars will still be inspected later at the R&D center.
“They kind of asked for it, and it was time,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “Definitely a departure for us, but times change and I think this is just one of those things of us changing with the times.”
The last driver to be disqualified in the Cup Series was Buddy Baker during the 1973 National 500 in the No. 71 Dodge owned by Nord Krauskopf, who refused to let officials inspect his carburetor.
The last race winner in the Cup Series to be disqualified was Emanuel Zervakis in 1960 at Wilson (North Carolina) Speedway due to an oversized fuel tank.