With the introduction of the laser system for car inspections, NASCAR has seen an increasing number of teams having difficulty in passing pre-qualifying and pre-race inspections.
This season NASCAR has introduced a new process and rules for post-race inspection including a disqualification
In past seasons, an in depth inspection process was held at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center during the week. Under the new rules those inspections will now be held at the track shortly after the dropping of the checkered flag. In the past, teams were docked points and fined for inspection violations; the new rules could result in race winner being disqualified.
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell spoke on the changes saying, “I think for us, we’re really looking at a total culture change. We’ve been through a deterrence model where we’ve really worked with the race teams at the track and probably been more lenient than we should in terms of the number of times teams can go through inspection and pass, fail and there’s almost incentive to try to get something by NASCAR, so we want to really reverse that trend.”
O’Donnell continued, “we’re going to put it on the teams to bring their equipment right. When they come to the track, we’ll be much less lenient as they go through technical inspection with stiffer penalties in terms of qualifying, and then ultimately during the race, obviously we want everyone to be racing straight up.”
Once a race has finished, NASCAR Competition officials will the the winner and second place cars; along with a randomly selected car to be put through a thorough inspection that NASCAR says should take between 90 minutes and two hours to complete and confirm the race winner.
In previous seasons, teams who were charged with post race violations have lost any playoff points advantage; along with loss of points. Under the new rules any team whose car fails the inspection process will not only be disqualified as the winner; but will receive the points of the last place car and lose any playoff or stage points advantage.
Once a driver has been disqualified, the remaining drivers will move up one position, making the second place driver the winner – unless he too fails inspection.
Speaking on the desire to eliminate the drama of midweek penalties, NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series managing director Jay Fabian said, “we want to be able to avoid the Tuesday, Wednesday announcements of penalties. We want to take that story line away and we’ve got to be rid of all that. So it’s up to the teams to behave the right way and if they don’t, they’ll get a DQ and we’ll move forward from that on a Sunday or Saturday whenever we race instead of a Tuesday or Wednesday.”