NASCAR defines penalty for altering side skirts, impeding others in qualifying

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR issued a rule bulletin Thursday that defines the penalty for teams altering the side skirts (or other parts of the car) on pit road during a race and clarifies standards for qualifying.

A team caught making an unapproved adjustment during a race under caution will be forced to return to pit road for repairs. The team restart at the back of the field with any other penalty cars and then serve its pass-thru penalty under green-flag conditions. Serving such a penalty under green could cost a team at least a lap at some tracks.

Should the unapproved adjustment be made during a green-flag pit stop, the team will be forced to return to the pits for repairs. That will serve as its penalty. NASCAR also stated that any crew member caught making the unapproved adjustment will receive a warning.

This is meant to do away with flaring side skirts, which became common during the last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. NASCAR had stated since last year that it planned to outlaw the practice.

NASCAR also defined qualifying procedures. Pit road speed will be enforced, along with properly blending on to the track. Series officials also will penalize any driver impeding a competitor during qualifying.

Any driver deemed to impede a competitor in qualifying could have their lap disallowed and/or be parked for the remainder of the session.

“If we deem it an unsafe move or they intentionally impede somebody … we’ll react,’’ said Richard Buck, Sprint Cup series director.

NASCAR also made clear that cars entering the track must remain in the lower portion of the track until they’re at competitive speed.