NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director Richard Buck sent a memo to teams Thursday morning that formalized penalties for failing to pass inspection at the start of the race weekend, before qualifying and before the race.
In a draft of the memo acquired by NBC Sports, Buck wrote to Sprint Cup crew chiefs: “Based on the data that we have collected thus far in 2015, we have identified several trends. One trend in particular highlights the failure rate during inspections.
“In an effort to ensure all competitors an equal and fair opportunity to participate, we will be implementing the following:”
- All cars must pass initial inspection and receive a final sticker to be eligible to practice.
- Cars that fail qualifying inspection twice will receive a written warning.
- Cars that fail qualifying inspection three times also will be penalized 15 minutes of practice time at the next event.
- Cars that fail prerace inspection twice will receive a written warning.
- Cars that fail prerace inspection three times also will be penalized 15 minutes of practice time at the next event.
Buck wrote in the memo: “Based on the above, there WOULD HAVE BEEN 9 written warnings issued at Bristol and an additional 3 competitors that would have received time penalties.’’
NASCAR’s rule book states that multiple warnings to the same member or team will result in a P1 penalty.
If a team receives two warnings during the same event or two warnings during two consecutive events its P1 penalty could result in last choice in selecting pits, reduced time for practice, reduced time for qualifying, delay in order of inspection and/or be selected for post-race inspection, among other things.
If any team or member accumulates six or more warnings during a six-month period from the time of the first warning, then it could result in a P2 penalty, which could include the loss of points.
NASCAR has penalized teams by holding them out of practice for multiple inspection failures this season, but it was at the discretion of Buck. The memo essentially makes the penalties automatic and also escalates the potential for future punishment via the written warnings that can trigger greater penalties on the tiered structure that was introduced last year.