NASCAR has announced it will disqualify race winners who fail post-race technical inspections for the first time in nearly 60 years from the start of the 2019 season.
In a move heralded as “unprecedented” but “necessary”, race winners from any of NASCAR’s top series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks – that fail post-race inspection will be disqualified, losing all stage and playoff points with the driver awarded a single point for last place.
As part of the change, all post-race inspection (except for some engines that are run more than once) will be completed immediately after the event.
NASCAR hopes the process will be completed within 90 minutes and an official winner announced.
Should the first-place car be disqualified, the second-place car would become the winner of the event and receive all benefits from the victory.
Teams will be able to appeal and the appeals will be conducted in an expedited manner.
“We’re changing the culture,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
“Our industry understands the need to focus on what happens on the racetrack. We cannot allow inspection and penalties to continue to be a prolonged storyline.
“Race vehicles are expected to adhere to the rule book from the opening of the garage to the chequered flag.”
NASCAR will inspect the first and second place cars, as well as a random one, after each event.
One random car from each event may still be sent to the NASCAR Research & Development Center for further examination.
No penalties will be given based on anything found at that stage, but the information will be shared with teams.
The last Cup race winner to be disqualified was at Wilson Speedway in 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis was excluded for a large fuel cell and the win handed to Joe Weatherly.
As part of the focus on inspection procedures, NASCAR will assess all penalties for illegal parts at the track during the course of the weekend.
For instance, if a car is unloaded with an illegal part, it will automatically be assessed as an L1 penalty.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from our race fans who don’t like penalties dragging out to Tuesday or Wednesday from the race,” said O’Donnell.
“When you leave the race track on Sunday night, you’ll know who the race winner is from our perspective.
“We’re going to move forward. We understand the challenges around sponsorships and different things.
“But we’ve also made it very clear to the teams over the last six months that this is where we’re headed.
“So, bring your stuff right and let’s concentrate on the best drivers in the world going out and beating each other on the track instead of the windtunnel.”