NASCAR simplifies manufacturer points system
Scoring will mirror system used for drivers for all three national series
Updated deterrence system aims to 'police within the event'
RELATED: Stage lengths revealed for 2017 races NASCAR competition officials issued an updated deterrence system Thursday for its three national series, shifting toward an officiating process that penalizes pre-race infractions within a given race weekend. The updated system is months in the making, with the sanctioning body and teams working concurrently on the new procedures. The move was one of several fundamental changes made to the penalty structure ahead of on-track activity this week at Daytona International Speedway. The new system replaces the P1-through-P6 penalty classification which had been in effect since the start of the 2014 season. The new structure grades significant penalties into Levels 1 and 2, both of which involve points deductions and crew chief or team member suspensions that increase with a given violation's severity. Elton Sawyer, NASCAR Vice President of Officiating and Technical Inspection, said that in the event that less severe infractions are found before a race, teams or crew members would be disciplined from a menu of penalty options available to NASCAR's three series directors. Those range from the loss of practice time to loss of lap(s) at the start of a race. "Our goal was to be able to, more like football or basketball or any sporting event to where we could officiate and police within the event," Sawyer told NASCAR.com. "I think the real message is that we want to get these infractions, the smaller infractions, we want to get them corrected at the race track. "It's very similar to a 15-yard penalty. If you can get three 15-yard penalties and you can still win the game or drive down and score a touchdown, then good for you. If we can issue these penalties and you lose pit selection or you start at the back or a drive-through (penalty), and you can still come back and win the race, well then we feel like what that infraction was, the penalty fits the crime." A chief reasoning behind the updated policy is to mete out potential penalties more closely to the time – and at the event – in which they occur. "The Tuesday penalties, they wouldn't necessarily go away," Sawyer told NASCAR.com. "We're hoping that we don't have to write those penalties. That's not what we look forward to. We want all the positive storylines to be around the excitement of the race, and as the stewards of the sport -- or the umpires, if you will -- we want to kind of be in the background. But we have a role and responsibility in this as well to make sure it's a level playing field for all." RELATED: Tire limits among '17 rules updates " Learn about the rules package The updates also detail the schematics of a new pre-race inspection protocol, which requires that vehicles must proceed through all four inspection stations, regardless of whether issues are found in any stage in the process. Fixes must now be made in each team's garage stall, rather than off to the side of any given station, and then vehicles must proceed through all four inspection sites again. Sawyer said that the additional time it takes to make a full inspection pass serves as a deterrent for teams, which could miss portions of practice or qualifying in the event of an issue. Eliminating repairs made off to the side of inspection stations also tightens up any gray areas on the fringes of the garage. "I think it's fair to say that if we make them go back to the garage, then that's a central location for all cars to be fixed," Sawyer told NASCAR.com. "They know they have to come back through every station again, so it does put the deterrent back on the teams and puts the responsibility back on the teams to present their vehicles in compliance with the rule book." RELATED: New participation guidelines put limits in place for 2017 Among the other highlights from Thursday's updates to the rule book: • The penalty structure for violations that rise to the L1 or L2 level were unveiled, subject to enforcement at the following event(s): L1 penalties concern areas of minimum heights and weights, the Laser Inspection Station (LIS), gear ratios, and flagrant lug nut violations where 17 or fewer are properly secured. L2 penalties involve more egregious infractions concerning tampering with the three "no man's land" technical areas of tires, engine and fuel. Major safety violations, the use of telemetry or traction control, plus breaches of the testing policy also fall under the L2 designation. Penalty options for all three NASCAR national series call for the deduction of 10 to 40 points for L1 violations and 75 points for L2 infractions. In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, L1 penalties call for crew chief or team member suspensions for 1 to 3 races, plus a $25,000 to $75,000 fine. L2 penalties in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series come with a six-race suspension and fines ranging from $100,000 to $200,000. The disciplinary action is scaled back in the other two national series. In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, L1 penalties will result in the same one- to three-race suspension range, but with fines from $10,000-$40,000. L2 violations in XFINITY events also come with a six-race suspension guideline, but a $50,000-$100,000 range for fines. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, L1 penalties carry a one- or two-race suspension with fines from $5,000 to $20,000. L2 infractions will result in a four-race suspension with monetary penalties of $25,000 to $50,000. • Specific penalties were outlined for lug-nut and LIS violations in the Monster Energy Series. LIS infractions discovered after Coors Light Pole Qualifying will result in a team's time being disallowed. Post-race, the violation falls under an L1 heading with a three-race crew chief suspension, a $65,000 fine and the loss of 35 championship points . Teams with one improperly attached or missing lug nut post-race are subject to a $10,000 fine. That fine doubles and includes a one-race suspension for the crew chief if two lug nuts are improperly attached or missing. If three or more lug nuts are in violation of the rules, the penalty rises to the L1 level with three-race suspension for the crew chief, a $65,000 fine and the deduction of 35 championship points . • "Encumbered" finishes -- a rules concept introduced before the Monster Energy Series' playoffs last year -- will remain in effect this season for post-race L1 and L2 violations. The rules allow a victory to stand in the event of an infraction, but a winning team will be stripped of the benefits associated with the win. • The list of pre-race penalties within a race weekend at the series directors' disposal, in order of increasing severity: Loss of annual "hard card" credential, loss of practice time, loss of pit selection position, tail of the field penalty, a green-flag pass-through on pit road after the initial start, a green-flag stop-and-go in the pits after the start, and lap(s) penalty. • Sawyer said that NASCAR competition officials will continue the practice of taking select cars back to the R&D center for further inspection after a race weekend. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Sadler on solid run, poor finish: 'We can't hang our heads'
RELATED: Daytona results " 'Big One' at end of Stage 1 " Recap DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Elliott Sadler climbed out of his wrecked No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the Daytona International Speedway garage, looked over his car and still managed a reluctant smile even as the race field roared by on track. After leading three times for 40 laps of the Powershares QQQ 300 , Sadler was knocked out of the race on Lap 107 of the extended 124-lap XFINITY Series opener. Contact between Sadler and Austin Dillon from behind in the tight pack of front-running cars sent Sadler's Chevy spinning on track. And while his crew tried to make repairs, the damage proved too much to fix in the allotted five-minute time window on pit road and he had to settle for a 24th-place finish after starting the race 11th. "Someone got into the back of us just trying to bump draft," Sadler said. "It wasn't anything intentional, it was just go-time. When he hit us it lifted the rear tires off the ground. The OneMain Financial car was really fast. We can't hang our heads because we were way fast and way good. We'll rebound (next week) in Atlanta. "It's been fun the whole day, really. We had a really good car, it's a shame to see it get torn up. We did get our bonus points and if we can do that every once in a while it will set us up here for a championship run. "You have to be aggressive, it's Daytona. That's part of racing here, you've got to be if you want to win." Ryan Reed ultimately won the race to take a likely playoff berth, but Sadler looked like the class of the field for most of the three-hour opener, which included two lengthy red flag periods (totaling more than 40 minutes) for multi-car accidents. RELATED: Sadler sweeps first two Stages Sadler, last year's XFINITY Series championship runner-up, led a race-best 40 laps through the first two stages, earning 20 regular-season points for leading at both the Stage 1 (10 points ) and Stage 2 (10 points ) breaks. He additionally received two playoff points -- again for winning the first two race stages -- that could come into play should he make the playoffs. His P24 finished granted him an additional 13 regular-season points , totaling 33 for the day. Saturday's effort places Sadler third in the XFINITY Series standings, 14 points behind race winner Reed. "At least we don't leave with nothing to show for it," Sadler said, managing a smile. "We got points to take with us into the playoffs and build on that. Our car was fast and we'll build on that. Accidents happen. "With new points system it was fun to race like that, to be honest, and get to each stage and see how people are reacting. Definitely a lot of fun. "It's just typical racing. It's Daytona. You've got to go and be aggressive if you want to win. It's a shame we don't have anything to show for it." On the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series side, Sadler was one of four "open" teams to earn a starting position in Sunday's Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and will start 40th in the 40-car field driving the No. 7 Golden Corral Chevrolet. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
How NASCAR driver points are awarded per race
Under the charter system that was established in 2016, NASCAR's premier series events have 40 cars in the field. Each finishing spot in the field earns a driver points , from a maximum of 40 points to the driver who finishes first, down to one point for the driver who finishes 40th. These points accrue over a season and determine the driver standings, as well as the owner standings. New for 2017 is the addition of three stages to every points -paying race. Drivers can earn race points through their performances in Stage 1 and Stage 2. Drivers who are running first through 10th at the conclusion of Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 will receive points , starting with 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, down to one point for 10th place. Points earned in those two stages are then added to what drivers earn after the Final Stage, which sets the full race results. Points are accumulated over each of the 36 races. There is a reset for the 16 drivers in the playoffs after the regular-season finale at Richmond, the series' 26th race of the season. There are additional points resets in the postseason after the completion of each three-race postseason round. Additionally, a driver can earn bonus playoff points for the following: -- Five playoff points to the race-winning driver -- One playoff bonus point to the driver who wins Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 in every event Those points are added on to a driver's total once the postseason starts. The accumulated playoff points will carry over at the start of the Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8. Other key items to know: • The driver who starts the race receives the points ; a relief driver does not earn points . • Bonus points are not awarded in the final race of the season to the Championship 4 drivers. Below is a look at how a driver earns points based on finishing position at the end of the Final Stage.
Part 2: The Intimidator's Day at Talladega
Editor's note: This story was originally published Oct. 21, 2015. MORE: READ PART 1 HERE The Build-up "That's what we've been wanting is being able to draft up and race these guys. I think the things they've done and changes they've made will make a difference. I think you'll see a better race, a closer race." -- Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR teleconference, Oct. 11, 2000. Bobby Labonte was steaming toward his first premier series championship, heading into Talladega with a commanding 252-point lead -- more than any driver could earn in one race under the former Latford points system -- over Jeff Burton. Dale Earnhardt ranked third, 258 points off the top with Dale Jarrett further back in fourth, 388 points in arrears. Dunlap: I think he saw those upcoming races as a real chance for him to make a run. ... Earnhardt was so focused on getting that eighth championship and, I think, at that moment that late in the season he had kind of felt it slipping away. Bobby Labonte: At the time where we were in points , it was risk over reward and if you were the chaser, it was easier to make those risks. If you're being chased, this is one of those places where you bide your time and you wait toward the end of it more. Dale Jarrett (driver, Robert Yates Racing No. 88 Ford): It was such an unknown. I won't say that I dreaded the race because I looked forward to racing there. We had been very successful at Talladega, but with the unknown and being in the midst of a championship battle was something that we were a little bit leery of in making the right choices and the right calls, so, as always, you're on edge racing at Talladega. In addition to the ratcheted-up championship pressure, teams and drivers also faced polarizing new aerodynamics rules that altered the looks of the cars and the type of racing they produced. McReynolds: The aero package was interesting. NASCAR had been searching all throughout the early part of 2000. ... In the summer of that year they took about 10 or 12 of us down to Daytona to do a test, and it was really an open sheet of paper. We went down there and they told us to bring all types of spoiler material and aluminum. I don't know that they really knew what they wanted to try and we just started trying things. Helton: We'd kind of eased up to it, but back in those days, we would kind of settle in on what we would use at the Daytona 500 by the Talladega race and use it there so that everybody would get used to it or we'd find any hidden ghosts and goblins in it before we unveiled it at the Daytona 500 . Bobby Labonte: I think we were there for the test and it was like some people liked it and some people didn't. If I went from 18th to first on the last lap, I loved it. I didn't like it quite as good at the end of the day. Childress: As good as I can remember back, we had the package with the wicker on the spoiler and the wicker across the roof. It was a whole new package and the cars really drafted, really raced. Nemechek: We called that the old taxi cab strip and they put a lot of drag in the car and turbulated a lot of air. … Once the air hit that thing on the roof, there were some very unique things going on with that, and I think between our two teams we were able to understand that quicker than most. Kenny Wallace (driver, Andy Petree Racing No. 55 Chevrolet): Andy Petree was by far, in my opinion, the best at getting the most out of his race cars on the superspeedways at Daytona and Talladega. He was the king of aerodynamics and getting the car low to the ground. Petree: I loved it. In my opinion, it was one of the best packages that we ever had for restrictor-plate racing because it kept the cars obviously in a big pack, but it made a big, huge hole in the air and it took a lot more power to push that aero package, so the car had more power, more response and I thought it was one of the best packages they ever had. Bobby Labonte: Back then, we didn't run a pack of 43 cars in a full pack like you do today. I don't think we circled it as much as these guys do, say in the last five or 10 years, but it was somewhere you knew that just whatever happened, you could be running in the top five one lap and then 18th the next lap. Hailey: There was a tremendous amount of unknown with the new wicker bill across the top of the car. We had no idea what we were in for. A new aero package had drivers and crew chiefs wondering how their respective cars would react in traffic. This No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo had no problem adjusting. The vehicle that carried Dale Earnhardt to his final NASCAR victory still resides in the team museum. Though the aerodynamic devices were intended to slow and bunch up the cars, the speeds shown in early practices were deemed too fast. That led to NASCAR officials making a change to the size of the restrictor-plate openings -- from 1 inch to 15/16ths -- just before final practice in an effort to further slow the cars. The modification added an extra layer of intrigue to what was already shaping up to be a true wild-card race. Petree: They had a restrictor-plate size, if I recall correctly, it was a one-inch plate that we started with, which made quite a bit of power. So we sat on the pole with the 33 car (Nemechek) and that one-inch plate changed everything as far as restrictor-plate motors. Helton: I don't think it would be called unprecedented, but it wasn't something we did every superspeedway race, but we also watched very closely the top speeds, and so if I recall correctly, it seems to me like this package during practice produced some speeds that had crept up and the aero package around the car was still such that the lift-off speed was critical to us. We shrunk the plate in the middle of that event to get the speeds in a better position for the event. Skinner: The aero platform, the whole rules thing with the engine package that they brought, for some reason everything was perfect on our car that weekend and we were extremely fast. And then NASCAR decided to put a smaller plate on, and I went up into the NASCAR truck and raised hell. It didn't take Mike Helton long to come out of his chair and explain to me that NASCAR had been there long before I was and it will be there long after I'm not. His job is to make sure that we don't put cars in the grandstands and keep our fans safe, and he basically just shut me right up and they did what they wanted to do anyway. Hailey: At that time, I was actually the dyno operator in the shop, so it was my job to run the engines on the dyno. We did a lot of testing before each race because we always had the idea, 'They may go a little smaller restrictor plate or they may go a little larger.' So we had a little background. We knew kind of what to do if they changed restrictor plates as far as the engine, as far as the tuning and everything, so it wasn't a big surprise that we had to change it. We were ready.
Short-track swing could turn tide on track, in standings
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Martinsville " MORE: Full schedule RELATED: Pre-Martinsville standings " Stage lengths The first short-track swing of the 2017 schedule begins this week at the venerable Martinsville Speedway and even before leaving California’s two-miler last weekend, NASCAR’s best conceded they were eagerly awaiting this portion of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Gone are the days of NASCAR road course aces, superspeedway specialists or short track experts. Not only has the sport demanded high expectations at every stop, drivers have to perform everywhere at an even greater level with the current points system . April's short track swing features Martinsville's .526-mile oval on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Bristol's .53-miler in three weeks followed by Richmond's three-quarter mile oval to close out the month. And while this portion of the schedule brings a smile to most drivers faces and a sentimental nod to their early careers, it also means a big competitive kick in their anticipation. "I love the short tracks and short-track racing," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has wins at all three upcoming short tracks. "We don't get to do a lot of it, so that makes you love it more. Being able to come to these tracks and knowing you are only going to get to run here a few times, it makes you really appreciate it and work hard. You have to really try to take care of the car to run all the laps and get everything out of it you can." RELATED: Full results for every Martinsville race " Driver stats at Martinsville Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammate and reigning seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson may be the happiest guy on the grid when he takes Sunday's green flag. He's at an unfamiliar 17th place in the Monster Energy Series standings with only one top 10 in five races this season so far. However, Martinsville has been his playground, his mecca, his "I got this." Johnson's nine wins there are most among active drivers and he has 24 top-10 finishes in 30 starts. He's led 2,838 laps there -- an amazing 1,475 laps more than any other driver on Sunday's grid. And he's won at Bristol (once) and Richmond (three times) too. "We certainly are not where we want to be right now," Johnson said. "Last weekend at California was so frustrating. Nothing went our way. As a competitor you have to put that stuff behind you and focus forward, so I'm looking forward to getting to Martinsville. " The last race at Martinsville was an amazing finish , a very emotional one for me -- so meaningful -- and it obviously paved the way to our seventh championship. It's a special place for us, it suits my driving style and I wish we raced at Martinsville more than twice a year." Toyota driver Denny Hamlin is another who has shown a real knack for the series' short-track portion of the schedule. He has a career best five victories at Martinsville -- including a remarkable three consecutive from 2009-2010 -- with 17 top-10 finishes in 22 Martinsville starts in all. He also has wins at Bristol (one) and his home track of Richmond (three). RELATED: Hamlin explains why 'feel' is more important than lap times His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch is the defending winner of the spring Martinsville race and has 10 wins total at the three upcoming venues including five at Bristol. And while drivers such as Johnson, Hamlin and Busch seem to have had immediate and bountiful success on the high action short tracks, Martin Truex Jr. could say his good feelings have been an acquired taste there. In his first 18 starts at Martinsville, for example, he had an average start of 18.1 and an average finish of 23.1. In his last four races -- with Furniture Row Racing -- he's had an average start of 5.5 and an average finish of 9.3. "From my standpoint Martinsville has gone from a puzzle to a place where I continue to feel more comfortable," said Truex. "We've had some good runs there recently and this weekend will be a good test to see where we stand with our short-track program. "We know we can get it done at the intermediate and superspeedway tracks." It's been a familiar refrain in the garage. In the past, a driver might show a real flair for a certain type of competitive surface. But in modern NASCAR every week, ever track is an opportunity that can’t be overlooked. There's no denying the "back home" good feeling of this upcoming short track portion of the schedule, however. It's the ultimate in challenge and gratification, a showcase for short tempers and a source of deep pride. "To me, the toughest part of Martinsville is you just never have a moment to breathe," said Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon. "You have to be on your game nonstop for 500 laps because somebody's on you, or you are on top of somebody the whole time, and there's just no room for error." And that's exactly what fans are counting on. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Chase Bubble: Points update before regular-season finale
RELATED: Provisional Chase Grid Here's a breakdown of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid and bubble picture after Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . NO NEW WINNER, NO CHANGES Martin Truex Jr . already had clinched a Chase spot, so his win at Darlington didn't cause any changes in the Chase Grid. There was a moment of uncertainty when Ryan Newman led for Laps 330-338 of the 367-lap race, however. But Newman slipped back, and he remains the first driver outside the Chase Grid. Newman also faces a potential penalty for failing post-race Laser Inspection System at Darlington. Jamie McMurray currently clings to the final Chase berth with one regular-season event at Richmond remaining. BUESCHER'S STANDING Chris Buescher 's 17th-place finish helped boost his Chase chances. Buescher prevailed at Pocono Raceway in August to check off one requirement for Chase eligibility; the second is a place among the top 30 in the Sprint Cup driver standings. Buescher remains 30th in the standings, increasing his lead over 31st-place David Ragan to 11 points . LOCKED IN Drivers who have clinched a spot in the Chase are: Brad Keselowski , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson , Kevin Harvick , Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr . (all with multiple wins), along with one-win drivers Kurt Busch , Kyle Larson , Joey Logano and Tony Stewart . Chris Buescher is currently in the Chase Grid, but has not clinched a spot. After Sunday's 500-miler, just one regular-season race (Richmond) remains before the 16-driver postseason field is settled. BUBBLE WATCH With 25 of 26 regular-season races complete, just three at-large spots (at present) for non-winners remain available. Here's how that picture looks post-Darlington. Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers' standings.
In any playoff system , points will matter
Bruce: History shows that points will matter in 2014, beyond
Enhancements, racing talk have drivers revving to start season
RELATED: Stage format revealed " Quick facts about race enhancements CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2017 NASCAR Media Tour started Monday night with a dramatic, warmly-received and game-changing announcement about a new race format for NASCAR's three national series and a re-designed points system aimed at increasing competition levels throughout races. It was a hard act to follow, but the next two days of panel interviews, photo ops and video one-on-ones delivered interesting interviews and a definitive positive vibe in the air. "Enhancements" was the word of the week and may prove to be the theme of seasons to come. For the first time, the traditional "tour" didn't include visits to any of the area's race shops or the nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway . No crew chiefs or owners appeared on stage or roamed the halls. But one by one, drivers -- representing all three NASCAR national series -- took the stage at the Charlotte Convention Center -- settling into a lone director's chair next to the emcee’s podium to provide season previews and at times, purely entertain. At times the 10-minute question-and-answer segments felt more like open-mike night at a comedy club. Jamie McMurray and AJ Allmendinger cracked jokes and took all-in-fun shots at various media members. RELATED: Allmendinger discusses Charlotte road course Defending Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin delivered zingers with a straight face.
Fast facts about NASCAR's team owner Charter system
RELATED: NASCAR announces landmark new ownership structure NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France joined with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owners on Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, to announce a landmark long-term agreement on an owner Charter system . The agreement provides teams with an increased business certainty and the ability to work more closely with NASCAR to continue to produce best-in-class racing. Below are fast facts about the comprehensive agreement. • This long-term agreement is for nine years. • There are 36 Charter teams, currently from among 19 organizations. The number 36 was not pre-determined -- NASCAR analyzed which teams showed a long-term commitment to the sport by attempting to qualify every week for the past three years. That criteria yielded 36 Charters. • Because of the above criteria, the following teams do not have Charters: the No. 19 of Joe Gibbs Racing , the No. 21 of Wood Brothers Racing , the No. 41 of Stewart-Haas Racing and the No. 46 of HScott Motorsports . • A Charter guarantees entry into the field of every Sprint Cup Series points race. Qualifying speeds still determine the lineup. • Sprint Cup Series fields will shift from 43 cars to 40 cars. That means 36 Charter teams are guaranteed to make every points race, and four non-Charter (or "open") teams will complete the rest of the field. • Charter owners may transfer their Charter to another team, for one full season, once over the first five years of the agreement. • Charter teams are held to a minimum performance standard. If a Charter team finishes in the bottom three of the owner standings among all 36 Charter teams for three consecutive years, NASCAR has a right to remove the charter. • Teams may sell their Charters on the open market. • Organizations now have a hard cap of four cars; there will be no fifth car for rookie drivers.
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