NASCAR Penalty Structure, Appeals Process Revised

It will send a clear message that rules violations will not be tolerated.

That’s what NASCAR Executive Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell made clear when the newly released enhancements to the sport’s penalty structure and appeals process were announced early Tuesday.

It’s called NASCAR’s Deterrence System and it clearly explains what disciplinary action will be taken depending on a technical infraction. Infractions will be listed from warnings to six penalty levels.

Warnings will be issued for very minor infractions. Those are then grouped into six levels: P1 to P6 with P6 as the most significant infraction. The lower levels may include fines OR points while higher levels are an all-inclusive combination of multiple penalty elements such as points AND fines AND suspension(s).

Here’s the partial breakdown, as released by NASCAR (the 2014 Rule Book will explain how and why NASCAR issues penalties and the factors considered when determining a penalty):
-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.

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 penalty. Repeat offenses of the same penalty or higher by the same car in the same season will result in 50 percent increase in that specific penalty.

In the new Appeals process, two tiers remain for resolving disputes. On the first level, NASCAR has prove that a penalty has occurred. On the second and final level, only a NASCAR member is allowed to appeal and have to prove to the Final Appeals Officer that the panel decision was incorrect.

Other Appeals changes are as follows:
-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

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.