NASCAR rules and regulations


NASCAR rules and regulations

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) makes and enforces numerous rules and regulations that transcend all racing series.

NASCAR issues a different rule book for each racing series; however, rule books are published exclusively for NASCAR members and are not made available to the public.[1] Still, many of the rules, such as the scoring system, have been widely publicized both by NASCAR and the media.

Contents

Championship points system

Pos Points
1st 43
2nd 42
3rd 41
4th 40
5th 39
6th 38
7th 37
8th 36
9th 35
10th 34
11th 33
12th 32
13th 31
14th 30
15th 29
16th 28
17th 27
18th 26
19th 25
20th 24
21st 23
22nd 22
23rd 21
24th 20
25th 19
26th 18
27th 17
28th 16
29th 15
30th 14
31st 13
32nd 12
33rd 11
34th 10
35th 9
36th 8
37th 7
38th 6
39th 5
40th 4
41st 3
42nd 2
43rd 1

For all series championships in NASCAR, driver points are awarded after each race. For the three major championships, as well as the touring championships, points are given out for each race based on two categories: Final Position, and Laps Led. The Whelen All-American Series rewards points on the final position only and the specifics of how points are rewarded may vary from race to race.

National series

Effective with the 2011 season, the three national series adopted a simplified points system, officially announced by NASCAR president Brian France at a January 26, 2011 media event:[2]

  • The winner of each race receives 43 points. All other drivers will be separated by one-point increments—42 points for second, 41 for third, and so on. The last-place driver in each Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race receives 1 point, while the last-place driver in each Truck Series race will receive 8 points (since that series has fields of 36 instead of 43).
  • The winner also receives 3 bonus points.
  • Single bonus points are also awarded for leading a lap and for leading the most laps. This means that a race winner is assured of earning either 47 or 48 points.

The points system is the same for both driver's or owner's standings, with one exception. Drivers may only earn points in one of the national series in a given year. All teams will earn owner's points, regardless of driver eligibility in that series. [2] For example, the winner of the 2011 Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne, earned no Sprint Cup points for his victory, as he chose to run for the Nationwide Series title that year. However, the #21 team earned 47 Sprint Cup points for the race win (43 + 3 + 1) that counted towards the owner's points standings. [3]

Regional Series

NASCAR's regional series (K&N Pro, Whelen Modified) still uses the system that the "Latford" points system developed in 1975, and modified in 2004 and 2007 that was used until 2010 for the three national series.

For points according to position, there are three different scales: 5 point, 4 point, and 3 point. First Place gets 185 points, with fifteen points separating first from second. After second place (170 points), the first scale starts, with five points separating second through sixth place. After sixth place the second scale starts, separating drivers by four points for positions seven through eleven. After that, the third scale is in effect, separating the rest of the field by three points (see chart on left). This is why cars will sometimes go back on track after a wreck, even if they have no chance of winning. By moving up three positions, they gain nine more points. Every driver who starts the race will receive the full points appropriate to his/her finishing position, and there is no minimum distance to complete before one can be classified in a finishing position.

For points according to laps led there are two five-point bonuses: 5 points for leading a lap (any single lap) and five points for leading the most laps of the drivers in that race. If a driver has led at least one lap in the race, that driver is awarded an extra 5 points on top of the points they earned based on position. Since, it is impossible to win a race without having led at least the last lap, the five bonus points for leading a lap means that the minimum points a race winner receives is 190 points (185 for position plus 5 for leading a lap). In addition, the driver who leads the most laps earns an additional 5 points, and if there is a tie duplicate bonuses are awarded. The driver who leads the most laps in a race will have received 10 bonus points (5 for his first lap led, and 5 for leading the most laps). Lap leadership is determined at the start-finish line at the end of each lap. A driver cannot simply lead part of a lap somewhere on the track; the driver must be the first across the start-finish line to be considered the leader for that lap. The pole sitter is therefore not guaranteed to receive 5 bonus points since he could be passed during the first lap. Lap leadership is counted under both green and yellow flags, so drivers will sometimes skip a pit stop in order to inherit the lead during a caution lap and obtain the bonus points.

Drivers’ points are assigned to the driver who starts the race. It is legal (though rare) to change drivers during a race (usually due to injury or fatigue), but the replacement driver gets no points, and the driver that started the race will get credit for the final finishing position. In 2007 Denny Hamlin replaced Aric Almirola in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at The Milwaukee Mile; because Almirola started the race he was awarded the points and credit for the win even though Hamlin drove the car to victory lane.

Points are also given to the owner of a car. For a car that makes the field, the owner points are the same as the driver points for that race. Cars that fail to qualify for a race gain owner points based on how well they qualified, continuing the 3 points per position so that the 44th car in qualifying gets 31 points, the 45th gets 28 points, and so forth, to a minimum of one point below 54th.

NASCAR points system development

From the beginning of championship series until 1967 championship points were based on prize money purses. Races with lesser purses paid fewer points than races with bigger purses.

First, the NASCAR point system used for championship from 1949 till 1951 awarded points on basis 10 points for the 1st place, 9 pts for 2nd, 8 pts for 3rd and so on, multiplied by 0.005*race purse (Race worth $4000 paid 200 points to the winner, 180 for 2nd place...). No info about how many points were given to drivers finishing below 10th place.[4]

From 1952 till 1967, the NASCAR point system was based on linear scale for first 25 positions: 25-24-23-... Coefficients changed, but were always dependent on prize money. Drivers finishing 25th or lower were awarded the same number of points.[4]

In 1968, NASCAR started to award points depending on race distance, not prize money. Point system was 50-49-48-... multiplied by 1 for events to 249 miles, 2 for events 250–399 miles and 3 for events 400 miles and more. System stopped from 50th place. This system was in use until the end of 1971 season.[4]

In 1972 (the start of the "Modern Era"), together with shortening the schedule, the point system was also modified. Basic points of 100-98-96-... were awarded for each race. Additionally, lap points were awarded for the number of laps completed. Tracks under 1 mile, 0.25 points a lap; 1-mile tracks, 0.50; 1.3-mile track (Darlington), 0.70; 1.5-mile tracks, 0.75; 2-mile tracks (Michigan), 1.00; tracks 2.5 miles and over, 1.25. This system was also used in 1973.[4]

In 1974, the points system was simple: Total money winnings from all track purses (qualifying and contingency awards did not count), in dollars, multiplied by the number of races started, and the resulting figure divided by 1,000 determined the number of points earned. By the end of the season Richard Petty had such a big lead in points, that he increased it even by finishing 30th while his main rival Cale Yarborough made a top-5 (Remember — the money was multiplied by the number of races started. Even if Cale made more money in one particular race, when the total money was multiplied by e. g. 27, the difference between the two leaders could also increase in comparison with situation after race 26).[4]

The next NASCAR points system was developed in 1975 following years of trouble in trying to develop a points system—from 1949 until 1971, six different systems were used, and in 1972, NASCAR used a different system each year for the next three years.

That type of inconsistency, which included a system, which rewarded most mileage for the entire season, and then another year where mileage and finishing positions were counted, favored larger circuits, and some fans complained about a champion who only won one race. That resulted in a 1974 ill-fated attempt at basing the points system on money and starts. Even though one driver won consecutive races, his opponent who had won the big money races had scored more points.

Bob Latford, a former public relations official at Lowe's Motor Speedway, devised NASCAR's longest used points system, which was adopted in 1975, which NASCAR used two different versions for their series from 1982 until 1998.[5] In the system, the winner received 175 points, second 170 points, and other positions exactly the same as the final pre-2011 points system.

Until 1998, the Nationwide Series points system offered 180 points for the winner, but no bonuses for leading laps. The same was true for the Camping World Truck Series until the end of that season, when NASCAR decided to standardize the points system for their series.

One complaint about the points system was that a driver could finish second and receive an equal number of points as a race winner, which was possible if the driver who led the most laps finished second. NASCAR amended the problem in 2004 by adding five points to the winner, and again in 2007 by adding another five points to the winner.[6] Under the 2011 system, a race winner is assured of earning at least three more championship points than the second-place finisher. The winner is assured of 47 points even if he does not lead the most laps (43 for first place, 3 bonus points for the win, and 1 bonus point for leading a lap), while the most a second-place finisher can earn is 44 points (42 for second place, 1 for leading a lap, and 1 for leading the most laps).[7]

Vehicle numbers

All vehicles competing in a NASCAR sanctioned event prominently display numbers on the roof and door areas. Unlike many series, especially Formula One, numbers are not assigned based on the previous year’s point’s positions. NASCAR owns the rights to each number and licenses them to teams annually. NASCAR usually reissues numbers that teams have previously used and may allow teams to request numbers of significance.[8] Ironically, while most series including Formula One reserve #1 for the reigning champion, only once has anyone in one of NASCAR's three national series won a championship driving car #1 or #01 – Ted Musgrave in the 2005 Camping World Truck Series.

The numbers displayed can range from 0 to 99 (as well as 00 to 09); however, the official numbers may contain three digits if two teams wish to use the same double-digit number, but is restricted to part-time teams only. For example, one team could be #27 and the other #127.[9] (If two teams have the same single-digit number, one team will officially be, for example, #4, and the other team will be #1–4.) No two teams are allowed to display the same number on their cars in the same event. If a situation occurs where two teams show up with the same 2 digit number on the car (typically part-time teams), NASCAR will ask them to decide who will change their number, if neither team is willing to change then the team higher in points will use the number. However, in combination races (a procedure used currently when the two K&N Pro Series or two Whelen Modified Tours hold a combined race, but in Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, it was used when the car specifications for what are now the Sprint Cup and K&N Pro West, and Nationwide and K&N Pro East, respectively, were similar), two cars (one from each series represented in the combination race) may carry the same number during practice and qualifying as the number was assigned to a different team in the respective series. The faster qualifying time determined which team would keep its number. The slower team had to change numbers for the feature.

NASCAR rarely retires numbers in the way that some professional sports teams do. Only one number, #61, in the Whelen Modified Tour, is retired, and that was after the 1985 season, when Richie Evans was killed at Martinsville Speedway.

Currently, there is debate as to whether #3 (which is commonly associated with the late Dale Earnhardt) should be retired. There was a debate to retire Richard Petty's #43 following his retirement, but NASCAR ultimately chose against it and Petty Enterprises chose in 1994, after spending the 1993 season in the #44, to return to racing with #43, which has continued to this day.[10] Richard Childress Racing has decided to use the #3 in the NASCAR Camping World East Series in 2008, with Childress's grandson Austin Dillon racing the #3, a decision he wanted, that his grandfather said, "It was something Austin wanted to do because it was my number (when he started in 1971). It's neat to watch Austin race it, but when I'm watching, I'm more worried than I am thinking about the number."[11]

Safety

Safety in NASCAR has evolved into one of the biggest concerns in the sport of NASCAR. Mainly after the death of Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time and 4 other drivers in 2000 Winston Cup Series champion, NASCAR has decided to change all of their safety policies, such as the use of the HANS device. Since 2001, NASCAR has also changed the cars for the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series. NASCAR's safety policy includes the raceing firesuit, carbon fiber seating, and the roof flaps.

Race weekends

In a typical weekend, teams will have two practice sessions, and a qualifying session before the race. In a smaller series and in the Daytona 500, the race may be run in a series of qualifying races known as heats before a feature.

In non-parc fermé races in the Sprint Cup Series, there is one practice session followed by the one qualifying session (prior to 2001, there had been two qualifying sessions) where the better of two laps determines a driver's qualifying time. In all Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series races, in addition to parc fermé races and night races where qualifying is run the previous afternoon, there are two practice sessions before qualifying with the last practice being referred as happy hour. The only difference between parc fermé races and two-day non-parc fermé races with the final practice before qualifying is a team may make changes to the car setup.

In non-parc fermé races using the three-day format, the second day (Saturday) features two practice sessions, with the second being referred as happy hour.

In case of weather that washes away accumulated rubber or at Goodyear's request, NASCAR may have a competition caution at a predetermined time (25 laps usually). In such situations no team may refuel before such periods.

Starting in 2011, the three national series have made significant changes to qualifying procedures:[2]

  • Qualifying order is now determined by practice speeds, from slowest to fastest.
  • If qualifying cannot be held, practice speeds will be used to determine the starting grid.
  • The only time that owner's points will be used to determine the starting grid is when both practice and qualifying have been canceled. Prior to 2011, owner's points were used to set the grid when qualifying was canceled.

Qualifying procedure

In general, the starting order for races is determined by the best qualifying time (except for the Daytona 500, where only the top two are determined by qualifying times). All cars are brought into the pits, and one at a time they are allowed to enter the track and accelerate to race speed for a two lap qualifying run. Qualification begins as the car crosses the finish line for the first time, and the best single lap time is used as the qualifying time. Qualification on road courses is generally limited to one lap rather than two. The order in which the teams qualify was determined by a random draw before 2011, but is now based on practice speeds.[2]

One position in the race (the last spot) is reserved as the "Champion's Provisional". It is available to any past champion who would not otherwise qualify for the race. If more than 1 champion wishes to use the provisional, priority is given to the most recent champion. Each former champion is allowed to use the provisional six times per season. If the provisional is not used by a past champion, it is released to the next fastest qualifier.

Should qualifying be cancelled due to inclement weather or other reason, qualifying order is set by practice speeds as of 2011.[2] Before 2011, current car owner points were used to set the field in that circumstance, except that during the first five races of the season, qualifying order was set by the final car owner points for the previous season. This rule will now be used only when both practice and qualifying have been cancelled.[2]

Qualifying order is also used to determine pit stalls for the race, with the fastest qualifier getting first choice. The sole exceptions are for the Budweiser Shootout, where positions are assigned randomly, and the Sprint All-Star Race, where the results of the annual Pit Crew Challenge determine pit selection order.

In some series, particularly the Sprint Cup, there are additional practice sessions between qualifying and the race. Cars may be damaged in practice, or the team may discover other problems in practice. A car (regardless of damage) can be replaced with a backup car and remain qualified for the race, but the driver will be sent to the back of the field during the parade laps. Crews are allowed to repair a car, possibly avoiding being sent to the back, but some repairs (such as engine changes) will automatically incur the penalty. Official race records use the driver's qualifying position as his "starting position", rather than his actual position at the green flag. A separate statistical line may be included for drivers "sent to the back" and the reasons for those penalties.

Sprint Cup

In Sprint Cup races, the top 35 cars in the standings qualify automatically, regardless of qualifying time. The "top 35" cutoff is based on car owner points, not driver points. Furthermore, for the first five races of the season, the "top 35" is considered to be the final top 35 from the previous season. After 5 races, the "top 35" is the current top 35 at the conclusion of the previous race. The purpose of this rule is to reward teams which run the whole schedule. This is generally believed to improve the ability of teams to retain sponsorship by offering the sponsors assurance that their cars will indeed be in the race.

While the starting order is still based on qualifying times, teams above the top 35 cutoff are guaranteed to be "in the show". The top 35 teams in owner’s points (as opposed to driver's points) are guaranteed to start in the top 42 positions. The 43rd starting position is reserved for the Champion's Provisional. If there is no former champion using this provisional, the eighth fastest car not in the top 35 will start 43rd.[12]

NASCAR has revised its rules on provisionals many times over the years. There was actually no limit on provisionals during 2005–2006, and some drivers were able to take advantage of this rule to ensure qualification of an otherwise uncompetitive team. As of 2008, an eligible driver may use the champion's provisional a maximum of 6 times per season. However, if qualifying is cancelled, the provisional may be used without being charged against the maximum.[2]

The need for sponsorship makes the top 35 cutoff critical for teams outside the top 35, and they are sometimes known as "Go or Go Home" cars. In previous years, the random qualifying draw included all possible cars, but starting in 2008, the cars were separated into two draws, with the top 35 cars going first in the session and all cars outside the top 35 going second, which has become known as "The Boris Said Rule", named for an incident where Boris Said was on the provisional pole for the 2007 Pepsi 400 during qualifying until a downpour canceled the remainder of the qualifying session, and because his team placed outside of the top 35, and the field was set by the rulebook, Said went home. This change of rules was done to ensure that track conditions would be as consistent as possible for qualifiers outside the top 35.[13] However, in 2011, NASCAR changed to a new system basing qualifying on practice times. The slowest cars in practice qualify first and the fastest cars last, to increase the suspense.

Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series

The Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series also use a two-lap, single-car qualifying formula on ovals. Unlike the Sprint Cup Series, only the top 30 (Nationwide) or 25 (Camping World Truck) teams that run all races qualify automatically.[13] For road courses, European-style qualifying is used. This involves putting all the cars attempting to qualify in groups of 5–7 based on practice speeds and giving each group about 5 minutes on the track to produce their best lap time.[14]

Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 has a unique qualifying process. A standard qualifying session is used to determine the front row (two cars). All remaining qualifiers are separated into two qualification races (the Gatorade Duels), whose finishing order is then used to determine the starting grid for the main race. The top 35 rule remains in effect and is applied after the Gatorade Duel races.

Race procedure

Sprint Cup races are held either Saturday night or Sunday (weather permitting), while Nationwide Series races and Camping World Truck Series races are usually run Friday night or Saturday. NASCAR avoids holding Sprint Cup races and other series races on the same day. Regional series also usually run Friday night or Saturday. Sprint Cup teams are rarely allowed to practice the day of a race.

Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series also cannot be held at the same time, owing to NASCAR's television restrictions that prohibit both series from running at the same time, and the lower series must air on tape delay rule if that happens.

Start of race

NASCAR holds a mandatory driver's meeting two hours before each race, or in impound qualifying followed by the race shortly afterwards, before qualifying. Drivers that fail to attend the meeting or in pre-race ceremonies are forced to start last in the race. In addition, any team that switches to a backup car (due to an accident in practice), requires an engine change, requires other unapproved parts changes (in impound races) or makes a driver change (i.e. not being driven by the same driver who qualified it) must also drop to the rear of the field for the start.

Since 2004, drivers must wait until after the national anthem(s) has/have played before entering their cars.

At five minutes after the National Anthem, the command "Gentlemen, start your engines" (or a gender neutral variant) is given by grand marshal of the race. After at least three warm-up laps behind a pace car, all NASCAR races begin with a rolling start.

In race

During the race, each driver will periodically have his car serviced during pit stops.

Because of the success of the Winter Heat Series in Tucson Raceway Park in 1994–95, the Camping World Truck Series, which raced two exhibitions at the track, used a half time break format for all races for three and a half seasons, at all tracks in order to prevent teams from flying special pit crewmen to change tires, and to equalize smaller teams. From 1997 until the end of the format in July 1998, teams would stop for fuel in standard race conditions in addition to the one intermission break for fuel at larger circuits.

End of race

A "green-white-checker" procedure was adopted by NASCAR in 1995 for the Camping World Truck Series, this requires the race to end under green flag conditions. After an experiment during the 1994–95 Winter Heat exhibitions, and in mid-July 2004 for all national and regional series, a one-attempt rule in effect for all NASCAR Touring series. Ironically the final Camping World Truck Series race held under the old rules had four different attempts.

Following the race, winning drivers often celebrate with burnouts and victory laps before arriving at victory lane.

Flags

Like most other sanctioning bodies, NASCAR will use flags to provide the drivers with information regarding track conditions. NASCAR, not adhering to the FIA rules (despite NASCAR being a member club of ACCUS, the U.S. motor racing sporting authority and representative to the FIA World Motor Sport Council), does not use the flag system outlined in the FIA International Sporting Code. Major differences include that in NASCAR (and other championships in North America) the white flag is used to signal that the leader is on the last lap, in ISC regulated events (such as Formula One and most European championships) it is used to signal that a slower car is on track. Also, the blue flag specified in the FIA ISC does not have a diagonal stripe, and the black flag means that a driver is disqualified.

Flag Description
Green Flag
The green flag indicates that the race has started or restarted.
Yellow Flag
The yellow flag or caution flag indicates a hazard on the track — most often an accident, but sometimes also for debris, light rain, emergency vehicles entering (usually on short tracks with no tunnel) or a scheduled competition yellow. All cars must slow down and follow the pace car. Passing is not allowed under the yellow flag.
Red Flag
The red flag indicates that the race has been halted. This may happen due to a large accident, inclement weather, track repair (such as damaged catch fencing), or for severe track cleaning (such as the final laps, when NASCAR may clean the entire track to ensure the race can finish under green flag conditions, and to do so with the track clean of oil from engine failure or crashes). Race teams are not permitted to repair or adjust cars during red flag conditions.
Red Flag with a Yellow Cross
The red flag with a yellow cross is shown to indicate pit road is closed. This will be shown at the entrance of pit road when the yellow flag is displayed. When all the cars have gathered behind the pace car, pit road will open and this flag will be withdrawn. A red and green strobe light system is also used at the entrance and exit of pit road. Cars may still enter the pits while this flag is displayed, but they must drop behind all other cars which wait for the pits to open, and the drop must occur while still under the existing caution. This is a frequent choice for cars with damage or flat tires, where the loss in position is favored over the risk of remaining on the track and possibly not being able to return to the pits.
White Flag
The white flag indicates one lap remaining in the race.
Checkered Flag
The checkered flag indicates that a race or qualifying is over.
Black Flag
The black flag indicates that a driver is being penalized. This may be due to a rules infraction by the driver or pit crew, or if a vehicle has sufficient mechanical damage that it is a hazard to other drivers. A black flag shown with a red flag indicates a practice session is over. In the event of a failure of the in-car radio, NASCAR will, at the team's request, display the black flag to signal a driver to pit, one time only.
Black Flag with a White Cross
The black flag with a white cross indicates a driver is no longer being scored. This is normally shown if a driver does not respond to a black flag within three laps.
Blue Flag with a Yellow Stripe
The blue flag with a yellow stripe is shown to warn slow drivers of faster cars approaching. NASCAR rarely punishes drivers for not obeying this flag; however, it is frequently displayed and warnings may be given if it is blatant (such as a lapped driver blocking for a teammate). NASCAR uses the yellow diagonal stripe on the blue flag because the flag is usually displayed on top of the starter's stand, and not at eye-level to the driver from the track.
Blue Flag
The blue flag is used to indicate a local caution on a road course. It is not used on ovals. If a full course caution is required, NASCAR will use the yellow flag to indicate this.[15] In the wake of a fatal corner worker crash at Daytona International Speedway in 2004 in a non-NASCAR sanctioned (but using track workers) race, NASCAR has become reluctant in recent years to use this flag, opting to full course cautions if any safety team members have to approach the track in an attempt to give safety workers a safer environment to inspect debris by forcing all cars under pace car speed, instead of race speed, to remove debris. The rationale is most of the field will be packed together while cleanup is happening, instead of being spread over the entire track.
Yellow and Red Flag
The yellow and red flag indicates that there is debris on the track. This flag is only used on road courses.

Beneficiary rule

In years past, NASCAR would permit drivers to "race back to the caution flag". This would allow drivers to race for position just after a crash has happened, but before they had crossed the start/finish line with the yellow flag waving. Drivers had developed a gentlemen's agreement to hold their position, and let slower cars gain lost laps, in this event rather than race, and in many instances, lead drivers would use this practice to reward lapped cars for not interfering with them during race conditions.

During the September 2003 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, Casey Mears, in an attempt to race back to the caution to gain a lap, nearly ran into the side of the disabled car of Dale Jarrett, parked at the start-finish line following a restart crash.[16]

This safety incident resulted in NASCAR banning the practice, and instituting a Beneficiary Rule to help the slower cars that would no longer be given laps back, by letting lapped cars race each other to gain a lap back. When a caution flag is displayed, the first driver one or more laps down is allowed to pass the pace car and regain their lap. There are three conditions to earning the lap back, however: 1) The driver must pit with all the other lap down cars, usually the second time by the pit road when it is opened for service. 2) Teams can only add fuel during this stop. (In 2003, Ryan Newman won a race at Dover by repeatedly entering pit road under an extended caution to add fuel) and (3) If a driver lost a lap due to a NASCAR issued penalty, they are ineligible for the beneficiary. The beneficiary can be restored, however, by later racing the leader and passing the leader to gain the lap back. Once that happens, and that driver is lapped again, he would be eligible for the beneficiary rule.

A similar rule change is known as the "wave around rule." In this, when the pits are opened following a caution, the lead lap cars can pit first. If a car a lap or more down chooses not to pit, this car would restart in front of the leader's car, but still be a lap down. Under the wave around rule, cars at least one lap down that do not pit under the caution will be waved around the pace car on the final lap before the green flag is waved. This allows these cars to make up a lap by driving around the track and falling into position at the tail end of the field. Drivers will forfeit their wave around if they enter the pit for fuel or tires and will restart in the order they exit the pit. Therefore, on the restart, the order will be the lead lap cars, lapped cars, the "lucky dog" (recipient of the beneficiary rule), and then the wave around cars. If the drivers is required to serve a penalty, the wave around will not be allowed. If a restart takes place, and a caution occurs after the leader had taken the green flag, but not the entire field, a new caution period applies, and a new beneficiary is named. The wave-around cars from the previous caution may then take fuel and tires.[24]

Technical requirements and inspection

NASCAR officials are using a template to inspect Casey Atwood's 2004 Nationwide Series car

NASCAR will inspect every car before a race to ensure that this car does not violate any rule of its series. After the race, the top 5 finishers, the first car out of the race not involved in an accident, and another random car will be reinspected. These inspection periods involve measuring the angle or size of the spoiler, weighing the car, comparing the body lines to templates, distributing restrictor plates (for restrictor plate races), and measuring the ride height.

All NASCAR race cars use a roll cage to protect the drivers and serve as the chassis. All vehicles use a front engine-rear drive layout with pushrod engines as overhead camshaft engines are not allowed. Except in the Sprint Cup Series, engines are carbureted; starting in 2012, Sprint Cup Series engines will utilise fuel injection from a single system jointly developed by Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems. Forced induction is also not allowed, thus making all engines naturally aspirated.

All cars used in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race must use a custom steel body made to fit a template that controls the shape of the car. These cars are then adorned with decals to attempt to make them resemble a Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Dodge Charger, or Chevy Impala. The bodies bear very little resemblance to actual production vehicles. With the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow the differences between the different models were significantly lessened, but teams can have differences in engines, and setups.

All cars racing in the top three divisions use radial slick tires supplied by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Goodyear maintains ownership of the tires at all times and leases them to teams during race weekends. Until 2009 Goodyear would issue limited numbers of tires to teams for testing at tracks not governed by NASCAR. Starting in 2009 NASCAR has banned all testing at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks and Goodyear isn't allowed to supply tires for testing. Under the old rules (which NASCAR has said will go back into effect when the economy is better) Sprint Cup Series teams receive 200 tires, Nationwide Series teams receive 160 tires, and Camping World Truck Series teams receive 120 tires.[13] NASCAR does not allow the use of rain tires on oval tracks as the fast turns and heavy cars place too much stress on the tires. In the late 90's NASCAR did attempt using rain tires in road course competition for all major series, but a lack of rain and road course dates and the development of the heavier Car of Tomorrow meant that rain tires were not economically viable anymore for the Sprint Cup Series. The Nationwide Series may still use rain tires on a road course if needed. On August 2, 2008 NASCAR used rain tires in official competition for the first time in its existence in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec. The tires proved adequate in competition on a wet track, but heavy rains creating standing water caused the race to end prematurely after 48 of a planned 74 laps.

Impound rule

In 2005, NASCAR implemented a system of impounding cars between qualifying and the race, similar to Formula One's parc fermé. NASCAR created work lists that teams may perform immediately after qualifying and a few hours before the race. All work is to be done under the supervision of NASCAR officials. NASCAR will not allow teams to return to their cars once the work is complete. In 2006 and 2007 due to teams needing more practice time with the Car of Tomorrow, and at the request of new cable partner ESPN, the rule was applied to five Sprint Cup races (both Talladega Superspeedway and Richmond International Raceway events, along with the July Daytona race after being used in 21 races during 2005.[17] Currently, only the July Daytona race and both Talladega races use parc fermé, mainly to reduce costs by forcing teams to qualify in race configuration instead of a qualifying configuration, as they are considerably different than race configuration on such tracks.

The rule is still applied to all Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series races as well as many smaller series.

Gear Rule

Among the major series, NASCAR will enforce restrictions on the gear ratios teams may use at certain race tracks. NASCAR will provide teams a choice of possible differential gear ratios, while the highest transmission gear must be a 1:1 ratio and no other gear may be higher than 1.28:1. Overdrive gears are not permitted.[18] [19] This is in contrast with other series such the IRL IndyCar Series or V8 Supercars which limit engine speed electronically.

References

  1. ^ NASCAR.com FAQ/Customer service Retrieved 1/29/07
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Changes for 2011 include emphasis on winning" (Press release). NASCAR. January 26, 2011. http://www.nascar.com/news/110126/nascar-rules-changes/index.html. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Ryan, Nate (February 21, 2011). "Daytona 500 win gives Trevor Bayne Sprint Cup option". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/nascar/2011-02-21-trevor-cup21_N.htm. 
  4. ^ a b c d e McDowellNews.com Article on early point systems
  5. ^ Fastmachines.com Article linking Bob Latford to the point system
  6. ^ FieldofFortyThree.com
  7. ^ http://www.fieldoffortythree.com/2011/2011-nascar-sprint-cup-points-system/ FieldofFortyThree.com
  8. ^ Foxsports.com article on number assignment
  9. ^ Jayski.com explanation of triple-digit numbers
  10. ^ ESPN.com article on number retirement
  11. ^ RCR Racing
  12. ^ About.com NNCS qualifying procedure
  13. ^ a b c ESPN.com"Drivers not in top 35 in owners' points to share track in qualifying" Retrieved 1/29/07
  14. ^ NASCAR.com NBS road course qualifying procedure
  15. ^ [1] Article on blue flag
  16. ^ NASCAR.com Report on beneficiary rule institution
  17. ^ Jayski.com Detailed explanation of impound rule
  18. ^ NASCAR.com "Crew chief Puccia fined for Martinsville violations" 3/7/08
  19. ^ NASCAR.com "NASCAR will restrict gear ratios in '05 for Cup, Busch, Trucks"

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