In a seismic philosophical change, NASCAR will look at taking wins away for violations and alter its inspection process this season.
“We’re changing the culture,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, on Monday. “We’ve tried to do one way and it hasn’t worked.”
Should the winning car fail inspection, it will have the win taken away – and no longer be listed in the record book as the winner – and lose all benefits from the victory, including points, stage points and money. If the winning car fails and the runner-up clears, the runner-up will be declared the winner.
Throughout much of its history, NASCAR has been hesitant to take wins away from those whose cars failed inspection after the race either at the track or, more recently, at NASCAR’s R&D Center. Much of the belief has been that the fans who watched or attended the event should know that they saw who won the race when they left the track or the race broadcast ended.
O’Donnell said he anticipates the winner being declared official about 90 minutes after the race. He said the winner, runner-up and random (often the third-place car) will typically be inspected after the race. The random is expected to often be the third-place car in the case the top two finishers fail inspection.
NASCAR will look at taking a car to the R&D Center for tear down but that will be only to examine any trends in the sport.
Previously, NASCAR did some inspection after the race and often took two or more Cup cars back to the NASCAR R&D Center for further inspection.
It was in such inspections that penalties to Kevin Harvick‘s team after his wins at Atlanta and after Texas in the playoffs.
After the Las Vegas win, NASCAR determined a violation with the rear window of Harvick’s car.
After the Texas playoff win, NASCAR stated that Harvick’s team did not use the spoiler exactly a....
NASCAR President Steve Phelps had hinted at such a change in his press conference with the media the day of the Cup finale in Miami by saying that series officials planned to “look at the inspection process.”
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