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FutureStarrNASCAR Officials Update Penalty Appeal Guidelines
NASCAR has a set of strict rules, and when those are broken, NASCAR takes swift action. As evidenced earlier this year when Hendrick Motorsports received L2-level penalties for unapproved parts modifications, NASCAR takes harsh measures.
Kaulig Racing experienced the same issue this week when their hood louver was confiscated during practice at Phoenix Raceway. This time however, their penalty is heavier than Hendrick Motorsports'.
NASCAR officials have recently updated penalty appeals guidelines in an effort to streamline the appeals process. This new provision allows panels to provide public reasoning when ruling on an appeal, which could be beneficial for both sides as it reduces the chance for hidden bias or inaccuracies.
NASCAR also revised their damaged vehicle policy, creating a seven-minute repair clock for teams to fix cars on pit road after they are hit by another race car. As in the past, no specialized tools can be used during that period to mend the car.
Other changes include penalizing crews who encroach on other pit stalls during a pit stop. This new rule, set to take effect in 2023, is part of an overall effort to limit interference during pit stops.
Teams who lose a wheel on pit road while under green will now face a two-lap penalty and two crew members will be suspended for the following race. These suspensions are series-specific, meaning that they do not prevent over-the-wall crew members from competing in other Cup Series races.
Though this change may appear minor, it will be invaluable for teams fighting for championships. No team wants to get bogged down in unnecessary drama during the playoffs, especially after they begin.
In the past, teams that were penalized during playoffs had to wait for the sanctioning body to update the rules before appealing the penalty. This was usually a lengthy process with potential delays as new regulations could become effective midway through an appeal.
NASCAR's rule changes announced this week are a positive step in the right direction, providing more clarity to the process and keeping it from becoming an overwhelming confusion.
One of the biggest issues recently has been with penalties issued. The most frequent is a 100-point penalty which includes docking 10 playoff points if the driver makes it to the postseason. Appealing these sanctions can be tedious, but necessary in order to guarantee they don't happen again in the future.
If you have followed NASCAR for any length of time, then you are aware of the strict regulations the sanctioning body requires teams and drivers to abide by. When those rules are broken, NASCAR has a legitimate interest in taking action.
NASCAR can, if it discovers a violation, fine the team and/or suspend the driver. Alternatively, NASCAR could dock points.
When this occurs, either the team or driver has the option to appeal the decision. This involves attending a hearing with three appeals panelists.
Once the hearing is concluded, a decision will be reached. The team can appeal the panel's judgment to a final appeals officer who makes the ultimate determination.
The final appeals officer can overturn, modify or revoke a penalty. However, recent updates to NASCAR Rule Book have included language that limits how much an appeals panel can adjust a penalty.
At an appeals hearing, parties present their case and evidence to three panelists. While they don't have to reach a unanimous decision, it usually occurs within a few hours.
* Appeals panels are usually independent of NASCAR, with a great deal of authority over their decisions, so it's essential that they comprehend all details surrounding a case.
It is essential that they comprehend the rules NASCAR has established. Panelists may need to submit a report outlining any violations and their explanations.
But they must also demonstrate that the penalty was incorrect. If they can demonstrate that the panel failed to comprehend the rules, their appeal may be successful and their appeal quashed.
Furthermore, the team can provide witnesses. These could include anyone involved with the incident.
Though it may appear complex, most appeals end in positive outcomes. Even some of the most severe and contentious penalties have been overturned on appeal.
NASCAR officials on Thursday revised their rules to promote transparency and reduce confusion regarding the penalty appeals process. According to the changes, while the National Motorsports Appeals Panel and final appeal officer cannot completely nullify an original assessed penalty, they can alter or reduce any one or more elements thereof.
NASCAR recently updated their policy so they can publicly publish the reasoning from an appeals panel or final appeal officer for amending or rescinding a penalty if desired. This move helps the public gain more clarity into what happens during NASCAR appeals and clears up some of the murkier situations which have caused some negative conversations surrounding the sport.
Another significant change that will enhance transparency is the removal of track operators from the three-member panel. Previously, they could influence the outcome of appeals which created conflicts of interest and caused NASCAR to question its credibility.
In its place, a "Final Appeals Officer" who will be appointed from within the sanctioning body itself will take charge. This eliminates the potential conflict of interest that had arisen on several occasions in recent seasons.
Thirdly, teams will have more time to appeal penalties and engage in discussions with the sanctioning body if they're dissatisfied with the outcome. This gives them a better understanding of the penalty and how best to work within it rather than against it.
These changes should provide more teams with the courage to appeal penalties and view it as a valuable tool to stay out of trouble. This is especially critical when the penalty affects a team's standings and significantly impacts their chances at competing for a championship.
Another significant shift is that teams will only be penalized if they were aware of the violation and took appropriate action. This ensures consistency in how violations are punished, something which has been a major challenge for many teams and drivers alike.
NASCAR officials have revised their penalty appeal guidelines to limit how much panels can adjust a penalty. This includes decreasing points reductions, fines and suspensions within the maximum and minimum ranges allowed in the rule book.
These new regulations come after two major appeals that occurred within the past week, leaving racing fans confused and disappointed. Although Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing both committed the same offense of altering parts without approval, their respective penalty appeals took different paths.
Hendrick Motorsports was penalized at L2 level for having their cars' hood louvers confiscated during practice at Phoenix Raceway earlier this year, leading to a $100,000 fine, four-race suspension for crew chiefs and 100 driver and owner points on all vehicles.
On Hendrick's initial appeal, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld his penalty and reduced most of the point deductions from drivers and owners to just four races plus fines. They determined that instead of charging full 100, a reduced fine should be assessed at 25.
Second, NASCAR officials revised Section 10.5.2 of their rule book Thursday to clarify that the National Motorsports Appeals Panel and Final Appeal Officer cannot completely nullify an original assessed penalty. They can make reductions, but must retain all elements from the original assessment.
Third, teams have three business days after receiving a penalty notice to file an appeal - with the exception of cases needing expedited consideration due to playoff or championship implications. Those appeals must be filed no later than noon on the following business day and usually done so through an online form.
Fourth, teams must include a brief summary of their case in their appeal packet. It should not exceed two single-spaced pages and include any attachments or appendices they plan to present during the hearing.
NASCAR has now implemented an update that permits three members of a panel to hear appeals, each drawn from 19 panelists listed in the Cup Rule Book. The panel will listen carefully to evidence and arguments presented by both parties before voting on a resolution.