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NASCAR Revises Penalty Structure for This Season

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NASCAR’s extremely busy off-season continued on Thursday as the sanctioning body announced sweeping changes to the penalty structure that will be enforced in all three National Series this season.

Since 2014, NASCAR had implemented a P1 through P6 level penalty system that is now being replaced by a simplified, more streamlined system that now will see infractions split into two levels L1 and L2.

Pre-race infractions under the new penalty system found during inspection could carry punishment applied to that weekend’s race ranging from loss of practice time to starting the race a lap behind.

The penalty structure for violations that rise to the L1 or L2 level were unveiled, subject to enforcement at the following event(s): L1 penalties concern areas of minimum heights and weights, the Laser Inspection Station (LIS), gear ratios, and flagrant lug nut violations where 17 or fewer are properly secured. L2 penalties involve more egregious infractions concerning tampering with the three “no man’s land” technical areas of tires, engine and fuel. Major safety violations, the use of telemetry or traction control, plus breaches of the testing policy also fall under the L2 designation. Penalty options for all three NASCAR national series call for the deduction of 10 to 40 points for L1 violations and 75 points for L2 infractions.

L1 penalties in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will now call for crew chiefs and team members to be suspended from one-to- three races with fines from $25,000 t0 $75,000. L2 level penalties can now result in six-race suspensions with fines from $100,000 to $200,000.

“Our goal was to be able to, more like football or basketball or any sporting event to where we could officiate and police within the event,” Elton Sawyer, NASCAR Vice President of Officiating and Technical Inspection told NASCAR.com. “I think the real message is that we want to get these infractions, the smaller infractions, we want to get them corrected at the race track.

“It’s very similar to a 15-yard penalty. If you can get three 15-yard penalties and you can still win the game or drive down and score a touchdown, then good for you. If we can issue these penalties and you lose pit selection or you start at the back or a drive-through (penalty), and you can still come back and win the race, well then we feel like what that infraction was, the penalty fits the crime.”

The new penalty guidelines in the Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series are scaled back to a degree. L1 penalties in the Truck Series will carry a one-to-two race suspension with fines up to $20,000. L2 penalties will bring a four-race suspension with fines up to $50,000.

In the XFINITY Series, L1 penalties will carry the same one-to-three race suspension as in the Cup Series with fines up to $40,000. L2 penalties result in a six-race suspension with fines up to $100,000.

NASCAR has also revised its set of pre-race penalties which will be enforced as part of its new revamped penalty system. The penalties can include: Loss of “hard card” credentials, a green-flag pass-through penalty on the initial start of the race, loss of pit stall selection, and tail of the field penalty.

NASCAR has also revised its set of pre-race penalties which will be enforced as part of its new revamped penalty system. The penalties can include: Loss of “hard card” credentials, a green-flag pass-through penalty on the initial start of the race, loss of pit stall selection, and tail of the field penalty.

NASCAR has also revised its set of pre-race penalties which will be enforced as part of its new revamped penalty system. The penalties can include: Loss of “hard card” credentials, a green-flag pass-through penalty on the initial start of the race, loss of pit stall selection, and tail of the field penalty.

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Justin Tucker

Been following Motorsports for over 30 years. NASCAR, Indy Car, F1. Earliest racing memory was Richard Petty's 200th Cup Series win. Currently resides in Ridgeway, Missouri. Favorite things to do outside of Racing is watching and cheering on the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kansas City Chiefs.