MIELE: NASCAR’s New Damage Policy Is Another Positive

Josef Miele Cup, Josef Miele Blog, NASCAR, Staff Columns, Trucks, XFINITY 1 Comment

 

Martin Truex Jr. (78) and Brad Keselowski (2) crash during the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

ALBANY, N.Y. — Disagree with me if you want, but NASCAR’s second stage of procedural changes for the 2017 season are another step in the right direction.

NASCAR’s updated Damaged Vehicle Policy was announced Wednesday in hopes of creating a safer environment for both competitors and fans alike.

In short, the days of salvaging points in a battered race car are over. Instead, a “repair clock” is coming to NASCAR’s three national series. Here’s a breakdown:

Starting at Daytona, vehicles will no longer be permitted to return to the garage area for repairs after receiving crash damage. Mechanical failures not related to an on track incident will be the only repairs permitted in the garage. All crash-related repairs now must occur on pit road under a five minute clock.

Teams will no longer be allowed  to use spare body panels to repair their cars, either; meaning it’s back to the good old days of tape and baseball bats.

If a car is repaired and meets minimum speed, the car returns to the race and the repair clock is reset. If the car does not meet minimum speed or cannot be repaired within the allotted time, the car is out of the race. If the car goes behind the wall due to damage, it is retired from the event. Additionally, having more than six crew members over the wall, or dropping debris or fluid are all offenses that will result in an automatic retirement.

Go ahead and digest that all for a second.

While the new policies are plentiful and a far cry from what we’ve grown accustomed to over the last several decades, they bring with them great potential.

Today, zombified race cars have no business returning to the track. Too often these zombie cars (or modifieds, take your pick) can’t get out of the way of traffic or end up bringing a caution out for breaking apart.

Take last year’s Kansas playoff race, for example. Brad Keselowski demolished his race car in the front stretch grass.  With steam billowing from under the hood, the car had arguably met its end, but with points on the line the car was quickly thrown back together, returning to the track multiple laps down.

After completing only one lap, Keselowski’s engine blew up in turn three, dumping fluid all over the racing surface, causing a caution and unintentionally affecting the overall outcome of the race.

Nobody benefits from situations like this, especially the fans. The integrity of the sport, let alone its playoffs, shouldn’t be compromised by avoidable incidents such as these. If we can eliminate that kind of situation, why shouldn’t we?

Sure, picking up points after lengthy garage repairs won championships for Jimmie Johnson and Benny Parsons, but are they really necessary anymore?

Continued on the next page…

Comments 1

  1. I really think that is going to make a lot of teams mad. I do agree that some cars that totally beyond repair dont need to band aid it together and keep trying…with the replacement parts they have now a days i think they should be able to repair their cars and get back out there….cars with tape or parts flying in the wind def dont need to be out there….and this so much time to fix your car and get it back out there is ridiculous also….don’t care for any of the new rules……

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