By David Morgan, Associate Editor
In a move that has been a long time coming, NASCAR is making a major shift in the way it deals with post-race inspections and penalties across all three national series, announcing Monday that it will be tearing down vehicles after the checkered flag falls and if found illegal, penalties will be handed out then and there.
Should those infractions be found in the winning car, the guilty party would be disqualified, resulting in a last-place finish and the loss of all benefits from the win/finish, as well as any stage points. This would move all drivers below them in the running order up as a result.
Over the last several years, penalties, which were monetary and points based, were dealt out mid-week after undergoing a teardown and the NASCAR R&D Center, but Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president of competition and racing development, noted in Monday’s announcement that the post-race inspection at the track should take no more than 90 minutes.
“Our industry understands the need to focus on what happens on the race track,” said O’Donnell. “We cannot allow inspection and penalties to continue to be a prolonged storyline. Race vehicles are expected to adhere to the rule book from the opening of the garage to the checkered flag.”
In addition to the first and second place finishers, NASCAR will also inspect a “random” car, which is likely to be the third-place finisher in case the first two fail.
More details on the new post-race inspection procedures will be unveiled later this week, focusing on what types of infractions would constitute a disqualification, but the fact that NASCAR is even leaning this direction is a big-time move on the part of the sanctioning body and falls in line with what we see at local short tracks across the country.