Radical Changes For NASCAR In 2014 (Part 3)
February 6, 2014

Radical Changes For NASCAR In 2014 (Part 3)

NASCAR has gone through some major changes during the off-season. In part one and two, I touched on the changes in the chase format and qualifying. They have also reworked the penalty system, hoping to be more equal with all the teams.

In the past, penalties were handed out on a case-by-case basis. This sparked some controversy in the racing community. Some teams were penalized hard for minor infractions while other teams got a slap on the wrist for major infractions.

This showed favoritism with teams. In 2012, Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, overturned a six-week suspension of Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus and a 25-point deduction to Jimmie. The penalty was originally given to the Rick Hendrick’s team by NASCAR officials for an improperly modified C-post at Daytona.

The team appealed the penalty, and it was set before Middlebrook, who happens to be a former General Motors executive and a personal friend of Hendrick. The Hendrick team received no penalty of any kind.

In the last few years, Middlebrook has overturned or reduced penalties for teams with major infractions while not for other teams with minor ones. As a result, he is being replaced for the 2014 season by Bryan Moss, former president of Gulfstream Aerospace.

Along with the new appeals officer, NASCAR has put a fresh format for penalties in place. The change is called a Deterrence System, which will give the teams specific penalties for each infraction done. It is a six-tier system with P1 being a minor infraction and P6 a major one.

This system will ensure fairness with teams who have an infraction.

“Our goal is to be more effective, fair and transparent. It’s never our intent to penalize, but in order to keep the playing field fair for everyone, we recognize that strong rules need to be in place. We certainly believe we’ve done a good job governing the sport in the past, but always believe we can get better,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president of racing operations.

“I wanted to clearly state that Bryan’s appointment is not a result of recent appeals outcomes or because of the changes to the Chase. John did a great job for us, but Bryan will take over as the final appeals officer,” O’Donnell added concerning the release of Middlebrook.

“We believe the new system is easily understood, and specifically lays out exactly what disciplinary action will be taken depending upon what type of technical infraction,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition and racing development. “More importantly, we believed we have strengthened our system to ensure even more competitive racing.”

The change begins with a warning system where first-time minor infractions by a team will just be issued a warning.

P1 penalty is if a team receives multiple warnings, that team will be penalized by practice or qualifying time deduction, last choice in pit selection, loss of team parking passes, etc.

P2 penalty is using hollow parts or minor safety violations. The team will have a ten-point deduction and /or a $10,000 to $25,000 fine and /or a crew member one-race suspension plus probation.

P3 penalty is using unauthorized parts, incorrect measurements, or coil spring violation. The team will receive a 15-point deduction, a $20,000 to $50,000 fine and /or a one-race suspension for a crewmember plus probation.

P4 penalty is circumventing NASCAR templates, measuring equipment, or unapproved added weight. The team will receive a 25-point deduction, a $40,000 to $70,000 fine, a three-race crewmember suspension plus probation.

P5 penalty is additives to the oil, oil filter, air filter or anything that affects the airflow over the car. The team will receive a 50-point deduction, $75,000 to $125,000 fine, a six-race crew member suspension plus probation.

P6 penalty is anything affecting the engine, modifying the chassis, the traction control or the electronic fuel-injection system. The team will receive a 150-point penalty, $150,000 to $200,000 fine, a six-race crewmember suspension plus probation.

In P4, P5, and P6, if the violation is found in post-race inspection, there are added point deductions and fines.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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