NASCAR Implementing New Policy on Damaged Race Vehicles

by Tucker White On Wed, Feb. 08, 2017

The 'Big One' collected 22 cars just past halfway in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Photo: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

Say goodbye to the days of damaged cars and trucks returning to the track down double and triple-digit laps looking like modified cars.

As first reported by Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com and Kenny Bruce of NASCAR.com, the sanctioning body is implementing new procedures affecting wrecked vehicles in all three national touring series this season, called the Damaged Vehicle Policy.

Teams may no longer replace damaged body parts that are the result of contact or an accident. Repairs, such as fixing sheet metal, will still be permitted. They only have five minutes to do repairs, however. If the repairs take more than five minutes or the car goes to the garage, the car is retired from the event and won’t be allowed to return.

If a car on the clock is busted for speeding, 15 seconds is docked from their five-minute time. Also, if a car on the clock requires more crew members than the six NASCAR allows over the wall to make repairs, the car will be removed from the race.

Teams may correct mechanical or electrical failures, that aren’t a result of a wreck or contact, on pit road or in the garage without penalty or being subject to the five-minute clock.

Damaged cars are still required to maintain minimum speed.

Previously, teams could spend as much time as desired to repair their cars and send them back out onto the track, provided they continued to meet minimum speed. This often led to cars returning to the track with either no hood covering, thus looking like a modified, or covered all in black parts with no sponsor decals.

“We have a lot of cars that are going back on the track that end up in 38th position, for instance, that probably don’t need to be out there from a safety and competition aspect,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “Because they always tend to bring out more yellows with stuff falling off.”

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