On Tuesday, NASCAR revealed changes to its penalty system, unveiling levels of penalties and specifically listing penalties for each level of infractions. The sanctioning body also announced a revamped appeals process that includes the appointment of a Final Appeals Officer. Bryan Moss, the former President of Gulfstream Aerospace, is that Final Appeals Officer.
“NASCAR’s deterrence system is designed to help maintain the integrity and competitive balance of our sport, while sending a clear message that rules violations will not be tolerated,” NASCAR Executive Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell said. “This is a more transparent and effective model that specifically spells out that X infraction equals X penalty for technical infractions.
“At the same time, we believe the Appeals process allows a fair opportunity for our NASCAR members to be heard and have penalty disputes resolved by an impartial relevant group of people with the ability to handle the complexities inherent in any appeal. This system has been tailored specifically to fit the needs of our sport.”
Warnings will be issued for very minor infractions. Beyond that, infractions will vary within six levels from P1 to P6, with P1 representing small infractions. Penalties for lower level infractions will come in the form of fines or points, but higher level infractions will result in multiple penalties, as in fines and points deductions and maybe even suspensions. Also, penalties will be more severe if rules infractions are found during post-race inspections and will be even more severe for repeat offenders. Behavioral infractions will still be handled on a case-by-case basis.
According to Tuesday’s announcement, P2 penalties were for violations that included such things as hollow components, expiration of safety certification, improper installation of a safety feature or minor bracket and fasteners violations.
P3 penalties will be issued for violations relating to unauthorized parts, out of spec measurements, incorrect parts and coil spring violations. Meanwhile P4 penalties will be issued for violations such as the use or lack of parts that help cars get past NASCAR’s template and measuring equipment or unapproved added weight.
P5 penalties will be issued for violations involving additives to oil, oil filters or air filters or devices or omissions that affect normal airflow. P6 penalties will be handed down for violations involving the internal workings and performance of engines, modifying pre-certified chassis, the use of traction control or affecting EFI or ECU.
When it comes to appealing penalties, the appeals process will still consist of two possible levels. First, appealing teams or individuals will have their cases heard by a three-member appeals panel. During that appeal, NASCAR will have the burden of showing that there was a rules infraction.
For appeals that reach the final level, parties appealing will have to convince the Final Appeals Officer that appeals panel decisions were wrong.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR