By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
During Wednesday’s competition seminar, NASCAR unveiled a new damaged vehicle policy which will eliminate the practice of wrecked race cars limping around the track after lengthy repairs in the garage.
Based on a rule change this year, race cars and trucks damaged during accidents on the track must be repaired on pit road and able to make minimum speed within five minutes. The clock starts when the car crosses the yellow line at the entrance to pit road. The timer stops when the car crosses the yellow line on exit.
Cars that can’t be repaired on pit road within the allotted time will not be allowed to continue in the race. If a driver incurs a commitment-line violation or speeds on pit road while trying to beat the five-minute clock, 15 seconds will be added to his or her time. If the penalty puts the car over the five-minute limit, that car is retired from the race.
Additionally, teams will not be allowed to use sheet metal other than that already on the car to effect repairs. NASCAR is developing a list of required parts that may be brought to pit road—a rear bumper cover, for example.
But, said NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller, “You can replace a bumper cover, but if there’s no quarter panel to attach it to, you’re out.”
The new rule applies specifically to wrecked vehicles. Repairs for mechanical failures, such as a transmission or rear gear, may still be made in the garage.