NASCAR Penalties News, Rules & History

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  • For news on current season penalties / suspensions, go to the 2015 Penalties page.
    and for info on NASCAR's Drug Policy. see the Drug Policy - News page

  • National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer is Mr. Bryan Moss

  • Appeals Administrator is George Silbermann (non voting)

  • 2016 Appeals Panel Members:
    Appeals Panel Members
    Mark Arute
    Christiane Ayotte
    Lee Baumgarten
    Tim Bennett
    Paul Brooks
    John Capels
    Travis Carter
    Ken Clapp
    Rick Crawford
    Barbara Cromarty
    Wally Dallenbach Jr.
    Chuck Deery
    Robert L. DuPont
    Laurel Farrell
    Richard Gore
    Janet Guthrie
    Russell Hackett
    David Hall
    Jon Hoenig
    John Horton
    Kelly Housby
    Dixon Johnston
    Bill Lester
    Steve Lewis
    Bud Moore
    Bill Mullis
    Hunter Nickell
    Don Panoz
    Buddy Parrott
    Dale Pinilis
    Robert Pressley
    Cathy Rice
    Shawna Robinson
    J. Kirk Russell
    Jay Signore
    Mike Skinner
    Jimmy Smith
    Lake Speed
    Lyn St. James
    Kevin Whitaker
    John White
    Robert Yates
    Steve York

  • According to the numbers provided by NASCAR, in 158 appeals heard since November 1999
    110 were upheld, 34 were reduced, 11 were overturned and in two cases the penalties were increased.

  • APPEALS - results 1999 to current
    158 total appeals
    110 upheld
    34 reduced
    12 overturned / rescinded
    2 increased
    (NASCAR, updated here since)(11-5-2015)

  • FINAL APPEALS - results 1999 to current
    19 total final appeals
    14 upheld
    4 reduced
    1 overturned
    (NASCAR, updated here since)(thru last final appeal 11-5-2015)

  • What happens to the money from the penalties?
    As of the start of the 2008 season, all money collected from fines issued to drivers go to NASCAR,
    then NASCAR donates the money to the NASCAR Foundation for its charitable initiatives.
    The drivers do NOT get a tax deduction on fines.
    Before 2008, the money collected from driver/crew member penalties are generally placed into the Drivers Points Fund awarded at the end of the season.

NASCAR Penalty News

  • NASCAR defines penalties for behavioral infractions: NASCAR has defined penalties for various behavioral infractions, including possible suspensions for drivers intentionally wrecking another vehicle in attempting to manipulate the outcome of the race or championship. NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations Jim Cassidy said the rules announced Friday aren't designed to be any tougher on the actions, only to define the potential penalties where before NASCAR had no penalty guidelines for specific behavioral actions. Last year, Kenseth said he didn't think he would get suspended for intentionally wrecking race leader and potential championship candidate Joey Logano while nine laps down at Martinsville. "I wouldn't tie this to any one specific event that has happened, but I would say what we've learned after talking to everybody is that everybody wants to understand more clearly where possible what potential ramifications will be in different scenarios, and this is an effort to go down that road," Cassidy said.
    Those sanctions would come under the penalty guidelines for premeditatedly removing another competitor from champion contention in a dangerous manner when not racing for position. NASCAR says that targeting another driver who is in a "highly vulnerable position" such as when stopped with a window net lowered or with significant race damage would elicit a similar response. NASCAR specifically notes that it expects contact and that racing can be heated and that there will be times that "hard and sometimes aggressive racing while contesting a position that could result in routine racing contact." It also notes that a shoving match, shouting match or general venting in the heat of the moment after the race would elicit only a "mild response" of a warning or probation.
    Actions that could result in a $10,000 to $50,000 fine would be disparaging the sport leadership, verbal abuse of NASCAR officials, media or fans and intentionally damaging another vehicle under yellow or red flag conditions or on pit road with no one else around.
    Actions that could result in a points penalty of 25-50 points, a fine of $50,000-$100,000 and a one-race suspension would include intentionally wrecking another competitor, manipulating the outcome of the race or championship and physical confrontations.
    NASCAR did not define penalties for disparaging comments on "race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicapping condition." Penalties for that violation -- as well as criminal violations such as domestic assault -- would result "in a fine and/or indefinite suspension or termination." The new rule said NASCAR would consider when the incident occurs, the ramifications to the sport, a driver's past history and impact to safety. All penalties can be appealed.(ESPN)(2-20-2016)

  • Update on pit road officiating: Officials in NASCAR's Pit Road Officiating (PRO) trailer called 12 of the 22 penalties issued during Sunday's Auto Club 400, the second fewest through this year's first five races. Six of the 12 were for tire violations -- failure to control an outside tire. Only Phoenix saw fewer total violations (19) and those made by officials in the PRO trailer (nine). There have been 158 penalties thus far this season, including 60 that were called by the PRO group. Officials in the tower continue to call infractions for speeding when entering/exiting pit road, pitting before pit road is open and various safety-related violations. Officials in the PRO trailer use video to respond to potential infractions such as too many crewmen in contact with the pit service area, crewmen over the wall too soon and pit box tire violations.(

  • Fewer penalties issued in 2014: Teams brawled. Stars erupted. Tension grew. The overhaul of the Chase for the Sprint Cup was the most impactful of many changes in NASCAR last season, and the ripple effects were pervasive, particularly during the final 10-race playoff that featured eliminations, points resets and the debut of a winner-take-all finale between four finalists. Yet there was another fundamental shift in Sprint Cup philosophy that was as notable for its lack of discernible presence. For the first time in its 66-year history, the NASCAR rule book delineated predetermined penalties. A six-tier system - with a "P6" being the most draconian punishment - was introduced amidst predictions that crew chief suspensions, points deductions and whopping fines could become prevalent. The result? There were 81 penalties in Sprint Cup - the lowest number in a season for a series that averaged 205 penalties a year since detailed record-keeping began in 2000. Only one penalty resulted in a major crew chief suspension - a six-race benching for Darian Grubb after Denny Hamlin's #11 Toyota failed inspection after the Brickyard 400. That penalty wasn't appealed, which wasn't uncommon last season after several years of constant challenges. There was only one appeal across its national series in 2014 after an average of 12 appeals annually since 2000. That led to an absence of the oft-chaotic scenes surrounding appeals hearings at the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., where news media stakeouts to cover large infractions were common. (Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing won noteworthy appeals in 2013.) NASCAR officials credited the concrete penalty structure with helping reduce such contentious encounters.(USA Today)(2-8-2015)

  • NASCAR Rule Book Reveals More on Infractions: The new NASCAR Sprint Cup Rule Book provides more details on what type of infractions can lead to particular penalties and includes a list of members of the Appeals Panels that reveals four new members. This year's Rule Book is 208 pages, 16 pages more than last year's version. The book lists 34 people in the pool for the appeals panels. There were 48 in the pool last year. The Rule Book also provides more explanation of its penalty structure. NASCAR's new deterrence system divides infractions into warnings and penalties labeled from P1 (least severe) to P6 (most severe). The Rule Book states that if a team receives two warnings during an event or two warnings during two consecutive events, then that may result in a P1 penalties that could include the team having the last choice in pit selection, reduction of track time in practice or qualifying or be selected for post-race inspection, among various possibilities. See full report and much more info at Motor Racing Network.(2-13-2014)

  • Enhancements To NASCAR Penalty Structure, Appeals Process Announced: As part of its wide-ranging initiatives to transform its competition model, NASCAR today announced enhancements to its penalty structure and appeals process beginning this season. In addition to these changes, NASCAR also announced the appointment of a Final Appeals Officer for the sport.
    "NASCAR's Deterrence System is designed to help maintain the integrity and competitive balance of our sport while sending a clear message that rules violations will not be tolerated," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president of racing operations. "This is a more transparent and effective model that specifically spells out that 'X' infraction equals 'X' penalty for technical infractions. At the same time, we believe the Appeals process allows a fair opportunity for our NASCAR Members to be heard, and have penalty disputes resolved by an impartial, relevant group of people with the ability to handle the complexities inherent in any appeal. This system has been tailored specifically to fit the needs of our sport."
    Bryan Moss, former president at Gulfstream Aerospace, has been selected as the Final Appeals Officer. Moss will hear matters on appeal from the lower three-member Appeals Panel, and serve as the last decision on penalty disputes for the sport.
    NASCAR's Deterrence System NASCAR's Deterrence System is easily understood and specifically lays out exactly what disciplinary action will be taken depending on the type of technical infraction listed from warnings to six penalty levels in ascending order. Some of the Deterrence System elements include:

    The system starts with warnings (W) issued for very minor infractions, then are grouped into six levels - P1 (least significant) to P6 (most significant).
    Lower P levels list penalty options from which NASCAR may select (fines or points) while higher P levels are an all-inclusive combination of multiple penalty elements (points and fine and suspension, etc.).
    At the highest three levels of the system, if a rules infraction is discovered in post-race inspection, the one or more additional penalty elements are added on top of the standard prescribed penalty.
    Repeat offenses by the same car are addressed via a "recurrence multiplier," i.e. if a P4 penalty was received and a second P4 or higher infraction occurs in the same season, the subsequent penalty increases 50% above the normal standard.
    Suspensions are explained in greater detail.
    Behavioral infractions are still handled on case-by-case basis and are not built into the W, P1-P6 structure.

    The 2014 Rule Book will explain how and why NASCAR issues penalties as well as the factors considered when determining a penalty. The Rule Book also will detail the types of infractions that fall within each level by citing examples that are included but not limited to:

    Warnings are issued instead of penalties for certain types of minor, first-time infractions.
    P1 penalties may result from multiple warnings to the same team.
    P2 penalties may include but are not limited to violations such as hollow components, expiration of certain safety certification or improper installation of a safety feature, or minor bracket and fasteners violations.
    P3 penalty options may include but are not limited to violations such as unauthorized parts, measurement failures, parts that fail their intended use, or coil spring violation.
    P4 level infractions may include but are not limited to violations such as devices that circumvent NASCAR templates and measuring equipment, or unapproved added weight .
    P5 level may include but are not limited to violations such as combustion-enhancing additives in the oil, oil filter, air filter element or devices, systems, omissions, etc., that affect the normal airflow over the body.
    P6 level may include but are not limited to violations such as affecting the internal workings and performance of the engine, modifying the pre-certified chassis, traction control or affecting EFI or the ECU.

    The National Motorsports Appeals Panel The new Appeals process continues to provide two tiers for resolving disputes. On the first level before a three-member Appeals Panel, NASCAR has the burden of showing that a penalty violation has occurred. On the second and final level, only a NASCAR Member is allowed to appeal and they have the burden of showing the Final Appeals Officer that the panel decision was incorrect.

    Some other Appeals changes include:
    Clearly identifying the procedural rights of NASCAR Members
    Detailing responsibilities of parties throughout the process
    Allowing parties the option to submit summaries on issues before the Appeals Panel
    Allowing NASCAR Members named in the penalty to be present during the entire hearing
    Appeals Administrator is not allowed to be present during panel deliberations
    Creating a clear Expedited Appeals Procedure when necessary
    Changing the name of the Appeals Panel to The National Motorsports Appeals Panel

  • NASCAR's new penalty structure, wins will not be stripped from a driver/team, but...: Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's Executive Vice President of Racing Operations, and Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Racing Development, held a press conference Tuesday morning to discuss changes to NASCAR's penalty structure and NASCAR's appeals process. Two of the Q&A's mentioned how a winning team could be penalized, but doesn't look like NASCAR will strip a driver/team of a win.
    Q. Robin, can you sort of give us an example of what would classify say as a P4 or a P6 penalty? What in your mind would those be?
    ROBIN PEMBERTON: Yeah, I sure can. When we're looking at a P4 penalty, it would be something that could be unapproved weight location, some minor engine components, generally outside the engine that would not be correct. You know, approved parts that are not installed properly, maybe spoiler angles that don't meet what we need to have. That's somewhere in the P4 range.
    When you look at a P6 range, and that being the highest level, those are the ones that will be more significant, and they are the engines, engine compression ratio, additives like nitrous oxide or things that are for performance, and that's the range of those two.
    And when you get into the penalty part, you know, a P6, you could lose any of the benefits of winning a race or starting a race, and so if you win a race and you have a P6 penalty, we will not use that win for either seeding or to help you get further into the Chase at the end of the year.
    Q. You talked about P6 penalties not counting towards the Chase, seeding or advancement. Was there any consideration about taking the wins away completely, and if so why was it not implemented?
    ROBIN PEMBERTON: You know, that's always a topic of discussion, and at this point in time we always feel that when the fans leave the racetrack they know who won the race, and so right now we just will take away that opportunity for seeding or advancement based on wins if somebody violates the rules. And this part of it isn't new. We have leveled a penalty against a team a few years ago, I think it was at Las Vegas for some issue, and they weren't allowed to carry those points over for seeding into the Chase. So it's not new. It's in print now. People can see it. And they'll understand that part of it. You know, it's always an age-old question why you don't take away the win, and the timing right now is we're going to move forward like we have over the 65 years, and we will address things on a year-to-year basis and see where it takes us.(NASCAR)
    For the full transcript see the NASCAR Teleconference With Steve O'Donnell And Robin Pemberton Transcript page.(2-4-2014)

  • NASCAR's appeal process before 2014
    1. A written request for an appeal must be made to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer within 10 calendar days of the notice of the penalty.
    2. The National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer will set a date and location.
    3. From the pool of commission members, the chairman will be joined by a minimum of two to constitute a quorum. Commission members are selected based on their knowledge and experience. They include men and women from a variety of motorsports backgrounds, some active in the sport and some retired. They include promoters, industry leaders, and dignitaries from other forms of professional motorsports.
    4. Appeal would be heard; decision handed down.
    5. If the team is not satisfied with the decision, they could make a final appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer. All decisions are final.

  • Pit Road Violations:
    1. Pitting before Pit Road is open (Section 10-4B in Rule Book) ... PENALTY: Restart at the tail of the field.
    2. PItting out of order (10-4B) ... PENALTY: Restart at the tail of the field
    3. Car/truck must enter pit road in single file (9-15C) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    4. Speeding - Entering pits (9-15D) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    5. All passing on pit road must be to the outside on entry (9-15C) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    6. Driving thru more than 3 pit boxes (9-15C) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    7. Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon (9-15E) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    8. Car/truck pitting out of the assigned pit box (9-15F) ... PENALTY: 1 lap
    9. Use of extension poles are limited/not self illuminated (9-15G) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    10. Too many crewmember(s) in contact with pit service area (9-15H) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    11. Crewmember(s) returning from equipment side of wall (9-15H) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    12. Front air wrench must be carried back to pit wall side of car/truck (9-15J) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    13. Using more than two (2) air wrenches during one pit stop (9-15J) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    14. Non-Compliant refueling .. PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    15. Tossing or throwing the fuel filler/equipment (9-15M) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    16. Tire violation-Removing outside tire acceptable/Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road (9-15P) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    17. Lug nut(s) not installed (9-15N) ... PENALTY: Must come in
    18. Removing equipment from assigned pit area (9-15O) ... PENALTY: Stop and Go
    19. Running over/under equipment (9-15O) ... PENALTY: NASCAR Discretion
    20. Hand pushing car/truck more than 3 pit boxes (9-15Q) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    21. Speeding - Exiting pits (9-15D) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    22. Running the stop & go sign/light (10-4C) ... PENALTY: NASCAR Discretion
    23. Going above the blend line exiting the pits (9-11) ... PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow
    24. Refueling car/truck before the affected car/truck receives the green flag on the race track or does not complete the designated race distance (competition yellow) (9-6D and 9-6E) ...PENALTY: Minimum 1 lap
    25. Passing the caution car/truck (10-4D) ... PENALTY: 1 lap
    26. Pulling up to pit (9-15A) -- (drivers must maintain position in relation to field or face penalty) ... PENALTY 1 lap
    27. Jumping the start (10-2A) ... PENALTY: Pass through pits
    28. Jumping the restart (10-2A) ... PENALTY: Pass through pits
    29. Passing after turn three (3) on "One to Go'' (9-11) ... PENALTY: Pass through pits
    30. Passing on a start or restart (before start/finish line) (9-11) ... PENALTY: Pass through pits
    31. Disobeying NASCAR request (9-11) ... PENALTY: NASCAR Discretion
    32. Intentionally causing a caution (9-11) ... PENALTY: NASCAR Discretion
    33. Verbal abuse to a NASCAR official (9-11) ... PENALTY: NASCAR Discretion
    34. Disobeying Black Flag (10-6A) ... PENALTY: NASCAR Discretion
    35. Safety violation ... PENALTY: NASCAR Discretion
    36. Commitment Line Violation (9-15B) ... PENALTY: PENALTY: Must pass through pits under green; Restart at the tail of the field if under yellow.(NASCAR)(2011/2012)


  • See a slideshow of the biggest penalties at FoxSports.(4-13-2013)

  • Team, Date, Track, Violation, Crew chief Fine-Team/points, Suspension
    #46-Carl Long, May 2009, Lowe's Motor Speedway/Sprint Showdown, Oversized Engine, Charles Swing, $200,000/200, 12 race suspension
    Richard Childress, June 6, Kansas Speedway, Altercation with Kyle Busch, $150,000, probation thru 12/2011
    #24-Jeff Gordon, Nov. 2012, Phoenix, Caused a wreck with Clint Bowyer, 25 points, $100,000, probation until the end of the year.
    #33-Clint Bowyer, Sept. 2010, New Hampshire, Car Body Modification, Shane Wilson, $100,000/150, 6 races
    #38-Travis Kvapil, June 2010, Pocono, Using nonconforming equipment and modifying the valve stem hardware, Steven Lane, $100,000/150, 12 race suspension
    #83-Brian Vickers, Oct. 2008, Martinsville, Car didn't meet minimum sheet metal thickness, $100,000/150.
    #1-Martin Truex Jr., July 2008, Daytona, Roof didn't fit NASCAR specifications, Kevin Manion, $100,000/150
    #66-Scott Riggs, May 2008, Charlotte, improper wing mounting locations, $100,000/150
    #70-Johnny Sauter, May 2008, Charlotte, improper wing mounting locations, $100,000/150
    #55-Michael Waltrip Racing, Feb. 2007, Daytona, Fuel/Additive, David Hyder $100,000/100 Indefinite Suspension
    #99-Carl Edards, March 2008, Las Vegas, Unsecured oil tank lid, $100,000, 100 points
    #24-Jeff Gordon/Hendrick Motorsports, July 2007, Sonoma, Front Fender Manipulation, Steve Letarte, $100,000/100, 6 races
    #48-Jimmie Johnson/Hendrick Motorsports, July 2007, Sonoma, Front Fender Manipulation, Chad Knaus, $100,000/100, 6 races
    #2-Kurt Busch/Penske Racing, June 2007, Dover, Endangering crew member, Drivers $100,000, Team/Driver 100 pts
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Inc. May 2007, Darlington, Rear Wing Brackets, Tony Eury Jr. $100,000/100, 6 events

  • the list got too long to maintain and the differences over the years in terms of money and points penalized has changed dramatically

Last Race a win was stripped from a driver

  • Last Time a win was stripped for an post-race inspection violation? The last time NASCAR [Cup Series] disqualified a winner for failing a post-race inspection was in 1955, according to an official in NASCAR's statistical services. Fireball Roberts won the Daytona Beach race, but had the win taken away for an engine modification. NASCAR gave Tim Flock the win. Since then, drivers have kept wins regardless of the infractions. NASCAR stripped Rudd of a victory at the Sears Point (now Sonoma) road course in 1991 for rough driving. Rudd made contact with leader Davey Allison before the final lap and caused Allison to spin. Rudd crossed the finish line first but was not given the checkered flag. That waved as Allison passed.(News and Record). No Petty was not stripped in 1983, no Mayfield was not stripped in 2000, Skinner and Jarrett had Busch wins stripped NOT Cup.(3-20-2005)

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