CONCORD, NC – NASCAR has announced a series of rule changes for the 2023 season that include banning the move Ross Chastain made to Martinsville and eliminating stage breaks at all six of the Cup’s road events .
NASCAR announced the changes in a session with reporters Tuesday at the NASCAR R&D Center.
Among the novelties of this season:
Updated penalty for a wheel coming off a car.
Changed the amount of time crews have to repair cars on Pit Road via the Damaged Vehicle Policy.
Changing playoff eligibility for drivers.
The cars could race in wet weather on short ovals.
Expansion of the restart area on an experimental basis.
Choose the rule will be in place for multiple races.
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NASCAR has updated its policy on a freewheel. Previously, if a wheel came off a car during an event, it was a four-race suspension for the crew chief and two pit crew members. That has changed this year.
If a wheel comes off a car while the vehicle is still on pit road, the vehicle restarts at the end of the field. If a wheel comes off a vehicle while it is on pit road under green flag conditions, it is a pass penalty.
The rule changes once a vehicle has left pit road and loses a wheel.
Any vehicle that loses a wheel on the track will be penalized two laps and two pit crew members will be suspended for two races. The suspensions will go to those most responsible for the detachment of the wheel. This change removes a suspension from the crew chief. The policy is the same for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks.
With some pit crew working multiple series, the suspension is for that series only. So, if a pit crew member is suspended for two races in the Xfinity Series for a wheel detachment, he or she can still participate in the Cup race the following day.
The damaged vehicle policy clock will be 7 minutes this season. That was six minutes last year and it was increased to 10 minutes during the playoffs. After speaking with the teams, NASCAR set seven minutes for the teams to make repairs on pit road or be eliminated. Teams may replace toe links on pit road but not control arms. Additionally, teams are not permitted to have specialized repair tools in the pits.
NASCAR will have a wet weather package for select oval tracks: Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Lucas Oil Raceway Park, Martinsville, Milwaukee, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix and Richmond.
Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition for NASCAR, said teams have been told to come to these events as prepared for wet weather as they would at a road course. This includes having a windshield wiper. Wet tires will be available.
“Our goal here is to get back to racing as soon as possible,” said Swayer. “…If there’s an opportunity for us to get some cars or trucks out on the track and speed up that process (of drying the track) and we can get back to racing, that’s our goal. We don’t want to race in the pouring rain (on those tracks) and have spray like we would on a road course.”
NASCAR said it was removing the requirement that a winning driver be in the top 30 in points in Cups or top 20 in Xfinity or Trucks to be eligible for the playoffs. As long as a driver competes full-time or has a waiver for races he missed, a win will qualify him for the playoffs.
With driver consultation, NASCAR is widening the restart area to give the leader more room to take off. NASCAR has said it will consider keeping it in place after the Atlanta race in March.
NASCAR has stated that the pick rule will be in effect for superspeedway and dirt racing.
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