NASCAR Introduces Stricter Penalty System, Including Playoff Ban, For Technical Violations In 2022 Season

One of the oldest sayings in auto racing is that “if you don’t cheat, you don’t try.” With the impending introduction of NASCAR’s Next Gen car, there’s a chance those who push the boundaries of the stock car racing rulebook too far may end up paying a lot for it.

On Monday, NASCAR officials announced a tougher sanctions system for the 2022 season, introducing a three-tier system and a stricter list of deterrent options on the part of the sanctioning authority. Of note is the potential for severe penalties for “counterfeiting or altering” parts from a single supplier for the Next Gen car.

In addition to major points deductions and crew suspensions, NASCAR has also introduced the ability to ban a team from the playoffs “regardless of wins, points, and other qualifying criteria.”

With the shift to letting race teams buy parts and parts for a Cup Series car from a single source rather than manufacturing them themselves, NASCAR officials had suggested a tougher sanctions system during a recent test of the Next Gen car at Charlotte. Motor Speedway. Such changes were advocated by race teams and industry partners in the name of introducing and promoting a new business model for Cup Series racing.

“If there are no penalties for changing parts and components on the new car, then the business model with a new car will not work,” NASCAR SVP of Competition Scott Miller said in a story by Zack Albert of NASCAR.com. “So it was definitely something the teams have been pushing hard for, and we’re doing our very best to lay down all the inspection procedures and all the different things. The rulebook is a completely new rulebook with a lot more detail than what’s in it past.”

Penalties for altering or falsifying Next Gen parts fall under the category of an L3 penalty, which is in line with the pre-existing L1-L2 penalties. In addition to Next Gen component violations, L3 penalties also include engine violations and performance improvements, engine control module (ECU) or electronic fuel injection (EFI) violations, tire and/or fuel modifications, and violations of private team testing policies.

In addition to possible playoff bans, penalties for L3 violations can also include a one-race suspension for the team in the case of repeated violations.

Here’s a full breakdown of the NASCAR sanctioning system for 2022:

L1 Violations

  • Not meeting minimum post-race weight requirements
  • Team resource parts that do not comply with NASCAR rules, but do not progress to a higher penalty
  • Failures in the parts submission and approval process

Penalty Options: Points Deductions (20-75), Playoff Points Deductions (1-10), One Crew Member Suspension (1-3 Races), Fines ($25,000 – $100,000)

L2 Violations

  • Modifications to single-source Next Gen components that do not amount to L3 violations
  • Violations of engine seal requirements
  • Unapproved changes to the engine control system wiring
  • Use of unapproved on-board electronics

Penalty Options: Points Deductions (75-120), Play-off Points Deductions (10-25), One or Two Crew Suspension (4-6 Races), Fines ($100,000 – $250,000)

L3 Violations

  • Counterfeit or modify single-source Next Gen parts
  • Engine violations and performance improvements (nitrous oxide, vacuum leaks, etc.)
  • Adjust tires and/or fuel
  • Private Team Test Policy Violations

Penalty Options: Points Deductions (120-180), Playoff Points Deductions (25-50), One or Two Crew Suspension (6 Races), Fines ($250,000 – $500,000), Post-Season Invalidity Suspension, one race for team (Repeated high-level violations)

In addition to the penalty structure outlined, previously introduced deterrence options – such as disqualification due to post-race technical violations – will remain in effect. While NASCAR’s move to a single wheel nut for the Next Gen car has eliminated the need for unsecured wheel studs, a four-race suspension for a team chief and two additional crew members still applies in the event that an improperly installed tire or wheel comes loose.

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