Monday, July 15, 2013

NASCAR Announces New Rules Initiatives

NASCAR announced today the beginning of a wide-ranging initiative that will transform its competition model in the areas of governance, rules, deterrence/penalties and officiating/inspection.  

At the direction of NASCAR President Brian France, the sanctioning body began what it called “a careful evaluation of competition” in 2012, working with the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company and long-time automotive executive Brent Dewar. A steering committee led by NASCAR President Mike Helton, O'Donnell, NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps guided four internal ‘working teams’ to create a blueprint for transforming competition in those four critical areas.  

NASCAR’s O'Donnell said one of the major tenets of the move is “to take a lot of the assets available to us and put even more money back into our R&D efforts. What that will allow us to do is get ahead of things in a much more advanced way." In an effort to accomplish that goal, rulemaking will be overseen by NASCAR’s Research and Development Department, under the guidance of Stefanyshyn. A major focus of that plan is to rewrite the rulebook with an emphasis on concrete measurements and computer-aided design specifications.

"We want the rule book to be more reflective of what teams have now with CAD drawings," explained O'Donnell. "Some of the reasoning for that is to make it more clear what parts are approved. So when you go to the track, in the event that you have a penalty… the part is clearly illustrated. If the rule book is better understood not only by the race teams but the entire industry, we feel that's a better, more transparent way to go forward.
"We want to eliminate as many gray areas as possible," he said. "But our sport is also built on innovation. We want to clearly define the areas where teams can go out and innovate, because at the end of the day, that's what our sport was founded on."
NASCAR and its working teams have developed blueprints for 11 initiatives. They include: 

·         Move rule-making from Officiating to R&D / Innovation
·         Enhance effectiveness of appeals process by redefining process and appeals board member criteria

·         Simplify rulebook and increase objectivity by replacing written rules with CAD designs
·         Enhance parts approval by formalizing submission and approval process
·         Increase consistency of rule interpretation across National Series

Penalty / Deterrence
·         Strengthen deterrence model to reduce inspection required to ensure competitive racing

Officiating / Inspection
·         Increase use of technology on pit road.
·         Maintain rigor of inspection while creating greater efficiency.
·         Improve efficiency of process by creating a race team inspection scheduling system.
·         Enhance effectiveness of inspection through data collection and trend analysis.
·         Create unified inspecting and officiating model across National Series.

A number of ideas will be implemented in time for the 2014 season, with others requiring more time. NASCAR officials said their goal to have the full scope of changes in place in time for the start of the 2015 season.

NASCAR’s Stefanyshyn also spoke of bringing NASCAR technology more in-line with that is seen on the street, saying, “We need to move in the direction the world is moving. If we don’t, we’re essentially disenfranchising ourselves" from the next generation of fans.” 

Pemberton said there could be changes made to the qualifying format in NASCAR’s three national divisions, as well. He declined to discuss specifics of that plan. 

O’Donnell stressed that the initiative remains a work in progress, saying, “We're out talking to the race teams now. We've received some real positive feedback, (but) we've still got a number of conversations to have. 


  1. Anonymous6:18 PM

    My question is if they have given any thought to tweaking the Gen 6. I know it's early but it is still massively aero dependent. There was only 10 lead changes at NHMS, and only 3 of those were under green flag conditions.

  2. Anonymous6:59 PM

    That was a boring race

  3. Anonymous8:15 PM

    I have not watched the race on tv, but if that was a boring race they did a lousy job broadcasting it then.

  4. Anonymous9:48 PM

    I usually delete people from my FB for using bad language especially when it may be read by youngsters. I will qualify as an exception when I say that this new approach by NASCAR in it's officiating and yet more of rule changes is pure Bull S___.Any time NASCAR makes a change of operations it's to their benefit and not the competitors, tracks,and fans who continue to follow the sport. Case in point. Pemberton declining to discuss specifics of new qualifying plan.
    A racer since the mid 50's, Jerry Venne.

  5. This statement sounds like a lot of words with no direction. NASCAR needs to stop "managing" the sport and just let it go back to racing. As far as inspection processes, the last few weeks have had cars barely making the lineup in time. The real curious thing is that it effects only certain teams NASCAR is not real happy with. Why has no one asked this question, if the 48 finally passed just in time to qualify, then it is found too low after its run. Looks like after he put a whooping on the field at Daytona, they found something they did no like and took steps to make their displeasure known. Or, maybe it was just coincidence.

  6. "We need to move in the direction the world is moving in. If we don't, we're disenfranchising ourselves from the next generation of fans." You are? If the racing is good then the next generation of fans will enjoy it regardless of whether it's old school technology or not. And just what does moving in the direction the world is moving in mean anyway?

    The issue remains the racing is NOT competitive. The Indianapolis 500 saw 68 lead changes - THAT is what NASCAR needs, not some vague rewording of the rulebook or the cost-cutting move of making the inspectors more generic to the series they work.