NASCAR makes major changes to Damaged Vehicle Policy
The days of wrecked Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars being patched up with bear bond and replacement body panels and sent back out on track are officially over.
Wednesday morning at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C., the sanctioning body announced that wrecked race cars will no longer be able to re-enter the race if they go to the garage for repairs.
In addition, teams will have just 5 minutes of cumulative time to make minor repairs on pit road. NASCAR has also added a 15-second penalty for speeding on pit road or missing the commitment line.
Body repairs are limited to the removal or reattachment of original body parts with tape and/or fasteners. No longer will teams be able to use replacement body parts. For example, if a driver is involved in a crash and loses the nose of his car, his team will not be able to pull out a spare nose and attach it to the damaged car.
Teams will be able to go to the garage to make mechanical repairs, such as replacing a failed rear-end gear or transmission.
These changes will likely have the greatest impact at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, the two tracks where big, multi-car crashes are commonplace. You will no longer see torn-up cars go to the garage for 50 laps and come back on track looking like a Saturday night modified racer.
That, in turn, could be critical, especially in the Talladega playoff race at October. A big crash there likely would knock several drivers out of championship contention.