Tuesday, February 04, 2014

NASCAR Announces New Penalty And Appeals Process

NASCAR has announced changes 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. According to Forbes.com, Moss served as President Emeritus of Gulfstream Aerospace from April 2007 until his retirement in March 2008, and previously served for four years as President of Gulfstream Aerospace and Executive Vice President, Aerospace Group, General Dynamics Corporation. He has served on the U.S.-Japan Business Council, the U.S.-China Business Council, and the U.S.-Hong Kong Business Council. He is also a past member of the Georgia Tech Advisory Board and the Savannah College of Art and Design Board of Visitors. He has been the Chairman of Business Aircraft Investments at Guggenheim Partners since June 2011.
NASCAR’s new Deterrence System 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.
The system begins with warnings (W) issued for minor infractions, and continues through six levels, from 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, 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 under the new system, with behavioral infractions still handled on case-by-case basis not involving 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 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. 
NASCAR’s 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.

Changes to the previous appeals process 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.

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