NASCAR dropping the hammer with revamped Penalty Scale

More changes to NASCAR were announced Tuesday, detailing with penalizing teams. What seemed like a murky process is now more clear with a scale, ranging from P1 (minor violation) to P6 (serious offenses). Each level’s punishment is predetermined, which helps the teams assess the risks they are taking if they attempt to bend the rules.

“This is a more transparent and effective model that specifically spells out that ‘X’ infraction equals ‘X’ penalty for technical infractions,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executing vice president of racing operations.

Here are the levels on the new infraction scale, with what may cause such a penalty in brackets:

Warning. This is for certain minor, first-time offenses.

P1. Punishment could be one (or more) of the following: last choice in pit selection, deductions from practice/qualifying time, community service, delay in inspection line, remaining in hauler for a specified time at the beginning of an event, suspension of certain privileges, ect. [Result of multiple warnings]

P2. Then, one (or more) of these could happen to a team: loss of 10 driver and owner points, a fine between $10,000 and $25,000, suspension of crew chief/others for one or more races, or probation to the end of the calendar year or a span of six months for crew chief/other. [Hollow components, expired safety certifications, improper installation of safety feature, bracket or fasteners violation, ect.]

P3. Next, a combination of the listed consequences could be put into effect: lost of 15 driver and owner points, a fine between $20,000 and $50,000, suspension of crew chief/others for one or more races, or probation to the end of the calendar year or a span of six months for crew chief/other. [Unauthorized parts, measurement failures, parts that fail intended use, coil spring violation, ect.]

For penalties P4 and up, all the repercussions are put into effect, cutting out the mixing and matching shown in the previous levels.

P4. A penalty of this severity includes: loss of 25 driver and owner points, a fine between $40,000 and $70,000, suspension of crew chief for the next three series championship races (including non-championship events in between), and probation to the end of the calendar year or a span of six months for crew chief/other. Post-race inspection additions include the loss of 10 additional driver and owner points, and a $25,000 fine. [Unapproved added weight, using devices that circumvent NASCAR templates and measuring equipment, ect.]

P5. Oh, a team is feeling really naughty? Here’s what they should expect: loss of 50 driver and owner points, a fine between $75,000 and $125,000, suspension of crew chief for the next six series championship races (including non-championship events in between), and probation to the end of the calendar year or a span of six months for all suspended crew members. Post-race inspection additions may include the loss of any benefits gained by starting or finishing position in the race, loss of 25 additions driver and owners points, and a $50,000 fine. [Combustion-enhancing additives in the oil, oil filter, air filter element, or devices, systems, omissions, ect., that affect the normal airflow over the body, ect.]

P6. The offending team has hit the jackpot with this one. Included in this guilt-filled package? The loss of 150 driver and owner points, a fine between $150,000 and $200,000, suspension of crew chief for the next six series championship races (including non-championship events in between), and probation to the end of the calendar year or a span of six months for all suspended crew members. Post-race inspection additions may include the loss of any benefits gained by starting or finishing position in the race and loss of all OEM points earned by the car in that specific race. [Affecting the internal workings and performance of the engine, modifying the pre-certified chassis, traction control or affecting EFI, ect.]

Teams, who were once attempting to straddle the line between Innovation and Violation, are now aware of the severe repercussions that may follow. As the season goes on, it will be very interesting to see what may be handed down.

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