“The Big One” at Daytona and Talladega just got a little bigger for 2017 — not to mention other crashes at NASCAR tracks. Updates to NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy could have a big effect on races in 2017 and beyond.
NASCAR announced today new rules regarding damaged vehicles at their Research and Development center in Concord, NC. The new rules apply to all three national series — the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series.
New NASCAR Damaged Vehicle Policy and Rules for 2017
The new rules for 2017 state that teams can no longer replace damaged body parts after accidents or contact. Repairs will continued to be allowed, including fixing damaged sheet metal. But there’s a limited window — five minutes to be exact. Once a damaged car hits pit road, they have five minutes to repair the vehicle. If the repairs take over five minutes, or require going to the garage, that team’s day is done.
Repaired cars will still be required to maintain minimum speed. NASCAR senior vice president of competition said a lot of damaged cars go back out on the track that shouldn’t be there from both a safety and competition standpoint. He said those partially repaired cars limping around the track often tend to bring out more yellows with parts and pieces falling off.
Heavily damaged cars that need extensive repairs that can’t be done on pit road, Miller said, “are essentially going to be out of the race.
Miller said the move is to help officials, who didn’t often see what goes on in the garage but can better observe repairs on pit road.
Repairing Mechanical and Electrical Failures
Teams will be continue to be allowed to correct mechanical or electrical failures which are not the result of an accident/contact. Those repairs may be done on pit road or in the garage area, and the five-minute clock will not be in play in those instances.
“We’re not going to tell a guy who breaks his transmission at Watkins Glen or Pocono, for instance, and coasts into the garage area that he’s out,” Miller said.
“Because that doesn’t create an unsafe situation; that is a mechanical failure,” he said.
Additional Pit Road Rule Modifications
The other rules modifications on pit road include speeding and too many men over the wall. Any driver receiving a pit road speeding penalty on either entry or exit will lose 15 seconds from the five-minute clock. Teams sending more than the six crew members over the wall to repair will result in that car being removed from the race.
Source: NASCAR.com – NASCAR Announced Updated Damaged Vehicle Policy