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Questions and answers about NASCAR’s new limits on crash repairs

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NASCAR revealed some rule changes Wednesday and the one that got the most attention was the new policy that limits what teams can do to repair their vehicles during a race.

Here is an explanation of the rule and answers to some questions about the policy.

Here is the new rule:

— Damaged vehicles that go to the garage will not be permitted to return to the race.

— Damaged vehicles that can be repaired on pit road will have a five-minute cumulative time limit (yellow line to yellow line).

Pit road repairs:

— Body repairs are limited to the removal or reattachment of original body parts with fasteners and tape.

— Rods/supports may be used to reinforce original panels

— New or previously unused body panels are prohibited

— Series directors will provide teams an advance list of items that are required for competition (e.g. rear bumper cover, tail extension, etc.)

— 15-second time penalty for speeding on pit road or missing the commitment line

— Mechanical failures can be rectified so long as they are not a result of an accident.

Q: OK, why is NASCAR doing this?

A: NASCAR stated that this is something it has looked at before. NASCAR noted circumstances where damaged cars returned to the track and got in the way of the leaders, or lost body parts and created a caution, or had an oil leak that caused a lengthy caution.

Q: So any car that goes back to the garage is done now?

A: Not exactly. Follow me. If a car is damaged in an accident and goes to the garage (either on its own or towed) it is done for the rest of the race. Simple as that. There are exceptions. NASCAR stated that if a team goes to the garage to replace a transmission or electrical issue — not the result of a crash — the team can make those repairs and return to the race.

Q: Fine, what is this five-minute rule about repairs on pit road?

A: NASCAR is limiting the amount of time a team can spend on repairs on pit road to five minutes. The clock begins once the car crosses the yellow line at the start of pit road. The timing ends when the car crosses the yellow line at the end of pit road.

Q: Why is there a time limit?

A: NASCAR is limiting repairs to prevent an escalation of time spent on pit road by teams, along with an escalation of people and equipment in the pit area.

Q: What if a team speeds on pit road to return to the track before the five-minute clock expires?

A: They will be assessed a 15-second penalty. A team also can receive a 15-second penalty if it does not cross the commitment line to enter pit road to fix crash damage. Once a vehicle reaches the minimum speed on the track, the clock is cleared. However, if the vehicle must return to pit road for more repairs before reaching minimum speed, the time for the stops is cumulative.

Q: Five minutes to fix a car, no problem. A team will just send over 12 or more crew members instead of the allowed six to work on the car.

A: Do so and you’re done. Any team that exceeds the rule on crew members over the wall to repair a car damaged by an accident will be out the rest of the race. Understand, that if a team has too many crew members over the wall during a regular pit stop (not related to a crash repair scenario), then the penalty of a pass-through under green or restarting at the tail end of the field under yellow remains.

Q: OK, so a team has to be careful about how many people are over the wall to fix the car, but they still can fix anything right?

A: No. Teams can’t replace body panels. Body repairs are limited to removing or reattaching original body parts with fasteners and tape. Teams also can use rods and supports to reinforce original panels. New or previously used body panels are prohibited to be used.

Q: What about repairing the nose of the car?

A: NASCAR states that teams can put wire and mesh over the nose to protect the radiator if there is a large hole but noses cannot be replaced.

Q: What if the rear bumper cover comes off, then what? Can you repair that on pit road?

A: NASCAR notes that if the car is damaged and doesn’t have a quarter panel to attach a rear bumper cover to, then the car is done for the race. Teams can straighten parts and pieces to put them back in their original position. NASCAR notes that no major repairs are allowed on pit road.

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BRANDT returns for third year with JR Motorsports in Xfinity Series

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BRANDT Professional Agriculture will return as a sponsor for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, the team announced Wednesday.

The company will be a primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier‘s No. 7 Chevrolet in 19 races and an associate sponsor of Allgaier and his three teammates the rest of the season.

Brandt has sponsored Allgaier for eight years, including the last three with JR Motorsports.

Allgaier is a native of Riverton, Illinois, which is 15 miles from Springfield, Illinois, where the company is headquartered.

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Allgaier, 31, is coming off his second season that ended with him in the Championship 4. He earned two wins, 10 top five and 17 top-10 finishes. He also led a series-high 495 laps among Xfinity regulars.

He will be teammates with Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick and Michael Annett this year.

The Xfinity season begins Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway.

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NASCAR revamps Rookie of the Year points system in national series

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NASCAR has changed how it determines the Rookie of the Year in all three national series, it announced Thursday.

The new system, which will debut in a month at Daytona International Speedway, reflects the points system that decides the champion in each series, including the stage format in races.

A race win will earn a rookie candidate 40 points and five playoff points. A second-place finish will is worth 35 points and a third-place finish is 34 points, etc.

A rookie candidate who wins a stage will earn 10 points and one playoff point.

“The focus on our rising stars has never been stronger and simplifying the Sunoco Rookie of the Year system made perfect sense,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations in a press release. “Our fans track closely the progress of our young drivers and matching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points structure with the championship points will help them follow this prestigious program and award more closely than ever before.”

Erik Jones was Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series last year. William Byron won the honor in the Xfinity Series and Chase Briscoe won it in the Camping World Truck Series.

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Watkins Glen, Michigan announce multi-year sponsor deals

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Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway announced multi-year sponsorship deals for their Cup Series races Thursday.

WGI announced the Aug. 5 race at the road course will be sponsored by GoBowling.com. The 90-lap race will be called “Go Bowling at the Glen.”

This is not the first time the bowling brand has sponsored a Cup event. It sponsored the spring race at Kansas Speedway from 2016-17 and the August event at Pocono Raceway from 2013-14.

As part of the deal, Go Bowling will have two bowling lanes at the track for the race weekend.

Michigan has renewed its sponsorship deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel for its June Cup race for “many years.”

The hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, began its relationship with MIS by sponsoring pole day in 2014. It began sponsoring the June race in 2016.

TheFireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for June 10.

ISM Raceway (Phoenix) also announced the title sponsor for its March 11 Cup race.

The event will called the TicketGuardian 500.

TicketGuardian is a mobile ticketing insurance provider. When fans purchase tickets to events at ISM Raceway, they will be given the option to add TicketGuardian’s ticket protection coverage. This allows fans to have insurance on the tickets they’ve purchased in advance.

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Hendrick, Kelley Blue Book extend relationship through 2020

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Hendrick Motorsports and Kelley Blue Book have extended their sponsorship deal three years through 2020, the team announced Thursday.

The car pricing, research and valuation guide will be a primary sponsor on Chase Elliott‘s N0. 9 Chevrolet in two races each year.

This season it will be on the No. 9 for the Aug. 18 race at Bristol Motor Speedway and the November playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kelley Blue Book has been partnered with Hendrick since 2014 when it had a one-race deal to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It went to a two-race deal beginning in 2016.

MORE: Driving the No. 9 feels like going home for Chase Elliott

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