NASCAR revamped its penalty system on Tuesday with offenses now carrying specific sanctions, ranging from a loss of practice time for minor infractions to 150-point deductions for the most serious.
Under NASCAR’s former penalty system, there were no specific sanctions tied to certain offenses. Executives hinted a new deterrence model was coming last year, when the series rolled out plans for a wide-ranging transformation of its competition model.
NASCAR’s revamped Deterrence System classifies six different levels of penalties, with fines and point deductions increasing as infractions become more severe. The structure also allows the sanctioning body to hit repeat offenders with a multiplier that could increase penalties by 50 percent.
The new system brings with it a new Final Appeals Officer. Bryan Moss, president emeritus of Gulfstream Aerospace, replaces former General Motors executive John Middlebrook as the final decision on penalty disputes.
“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,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president of racing operations. “This is a more transparent and effective model that specifically spells out that ‘X’ infraction equals ‘X’ penalty for technical infractions.”
The changes will be incorporated into the 2014 rule books for all three national series. The revised system is for technical infractions only, with behavioral offenses still handled on a case-by-case basis.
Initial appeals will still be heard by three members of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel, with Moss now the arbiter of any final arguments.
“We believe the appeals process allows for a fair opportunity for our NASCAR members to be heard, and have penalties resolved by an impartial, relevant group of people, and potentially a Final Appeals Officer with the ability to handle the complexities inherent in any appeal,” O’Donnell said. “This system has been tailored specifically to fit the needs of our sport.”
The new Deterrence System allows for a warning, and then escalates through six categories of penalties, with the sanctions growing more severe with each step. The lowest level of offense, or “P1,” brings penalties ranging from a loss of track time during practice to community service.
In the Sprint Cup Series, the P2 and P3 levels carry point penalties and/or fines and suspensions, ranging from deductions of 10-15 points, fines from $10,000-$50,000, and crew chief or other team members sidelined for one or more races. Penalties at those levels also carry probation for six months or through the end of the calendar year.
The highest levels of penalties — P4, P5 and P6 — are all-inclusive, involving point deductions, fines, suspensions and probation. A P4 infraction would bring the loss of 25 driver and owner points, a fine of $40,000-$70,000, and a three-race crew chief suspension. At P5, the penalties increase to 50 points, fines of $75,000-$125,000, and a six-race suspension. The highest level of penalty, P6, carries a 150-point deduction along with a fine of $150,000-$200,000, and a six-race suspension to the crew chief.