NASCAR streamlines warning structure; wipes slate clean of previous warnings to teams

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NASCAR is streamlining its warning and penalty structure. The sanctioning body announced the changes in a revision to the Rule Book for each of the top three national series on Wednesday.

The move wipes the slate clean for all teams regardless of how many warnings they’ve incurred up to this point in the season. Accumulation of warnings begins now.

NASCAR’s Rule Book now states that for every fourth warning a team receives, whether the event is a points or non-points event, it will result in the loss of pit selection. Warnings can not be appealed.

If the fourth warning is issued before pit selection takes place at a points race, the loss of pit selection will be assessed for that event. If not, it will be assessed at the next points race.

NASCAR listed examples of violations – but not limited to – that could lead to a warning as:

Failing qualifying or pre-race inspection twice or more at the same event.

Left side driver heat shield that does not meet the rules.

Installation of additional components and/or modifications of existing components that affect the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle that are not explicitly permitted.

Incorrect bolt size discovered for the rear wheel opening support – as long as this was discovered in pre-race and corrected before the race.

Confiscated parts not rising to a higher level penalty.

NASCAR also changed its policy on how long warnings last. Warnings will no longer carry through into the following season.

Previously, if a team received two warnings during the same event or during two consecutive events, it could result in a P1 penalty such as last choice in pit selection, loss of practice time, delay in order of inspection, loss of time in qualifying, be selected for post-race inspection. Those and other such penalties have been removed from the Rule Book, as NASCAR sought to make it more clear exactly what the penalty would be.

NASCAR also removed the section that if any member receives six or more warnings during a six-month period from the first warning, it would lead to a P2 penalty.

Chaos or calm? What do drivers expect in playoff opener?

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LAS VEGAS — When the Cup drivers last raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, they were slowed only by two cautions for stage breaks in March. When they ran at this track in last year’s playoff race, there were 12 cautions, many for accidents.

So what do drivers expect for today’s playoff opener (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway? Chaos or calm?

“I think you’re going to have more cautions than you did in the spring, without a doubt, maybe not to the extent of last year,” said playoff contender Ryan Newman, who starts 17th.

He starts next to defending race winner and playoff contender Brad Keselowski, who also shares Newman’s belief.

“I’m a little bit thinking there will be more this time than in the spring,” Keselowski said. “It’s hotter this fall than what I remember last fall and we’re way faster through the center of the corners. So I expect it to be very difficult on the tires. Probably see some tire failures, accordingly, that will kind of add to the cautions.”

The wunderground.com forecast for today’s race calls for a high of 100 degrees at the start. The temperature will still be in the 90s when the race is scheduled to end. This will be the hottest race of the season, topping the 96 degrees that drivers battled at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.

MORE: Today’s Cup race details, start time & lineup

Playoff contender Kurt Busch, who starts fifth, says the heat will impact the racing.

“Track is hotter, (there’s) less grip, it’s the playoffs, everybody is on edge,” Busch said for his belief there will be more cautions than the spring race.

Playoff contender Alex Bowman, who starts 19th, also sees an increase in cautions from the March race.

“I think we’re going to have cautions,” he said. “I think you’re going to have tire failures with it being so hot. I think you’re going to have guys crashing their stuff. I think it’s just going to be a really slick race track, tough to drive and nobody is going to give an inch. I think that is going to create some cautions. I don’t think it will create the 12 we had last year.”

Aric Almirola, who starts fourth, notes that “if I was a betting man, which I’m not … I’d say we will have more cautions than just the stage breaks.

“As teams have gotten smarter and tried to make their cars go faster, the cars are trimmed out more and because of that are less stable, they’re harder to drive. It makes really, really challenging on restarts and around guys. We’ve seen that the last couple of months. I don’t think it’s specific to Las Vegas, just the last few months in general we’ve seen wreck on restarts and things just because the cars are a lot more difficult to drive.”

Newman adds another key factor that could lead to more cautions today.

“I think give-and-take is kind of gone in our sport now,” he said of how drivers race each other. “It’s still there, don’t get me wrong, but it’s less than it has been by a long shot then the last few years, let’s say five years ago.

“I think that you see that with guys blocking. When you start doing the blocking deal, give-and-take is gone. I think it’s going to be pretty amped up. Sixteen guys, eight of them kind of on the bubble already in the first race, it’s going to be intense.”

Today’s Cup race at Las Vegas: Start time, lineup and more

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The NASCAR Cup Series begins its 10-race playoffs with today’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Sixteen drivers will take the green flag in what each hopes will be the first step toward winning the Cup championship.

Here is all the info for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by actor Cole Hauser at 7:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:16 p.m.

PRERACE: The Cup garage opens at 3 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 5 p.m. Driver introductions are at 6:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7 p.m. The National Anthem will be performed at 7:01 p.m. by Sierra Black.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. with NASCAR America on NBCSN. Countdown to Green begins at 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. The Performance Racing Network broadcast begins at 6 p.m. and also can be heard on goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

STREAMING ONLINE: Click here for NBCSN’s live stream of the race.

FORECAST: Wunderground.com forecasts mostly sunny conditions with a temperature of 100 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Brad Keselowski won this race last year, leading 75 of 272 laps over Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. Joey Logano won in March, leading 86 of 267 laps over Keselowski and Kyle Busch.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

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Ryan Sieg’s car fails inspection at Las Vegas, 14th-place finish disqualified

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Ryan Sieg‘s 14th-place finish in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was disqualified by NASCAR after his No. 39 Chevrolet failed heights in post-race inspection. The car was found to be too low in the right and left front.

Sieg is now credited with a last-place finish.

The disqualification does not impact Sieg’s playoff eligibility or his seeding. He will start the playoffs in 11th with 2,001 points.

As a result of the disqualification, Ryan Truex is the new 14th-place finisher.

Sieg’s disqualification is the fifth time that has occurred this season in the Xfinity Series.

Denny Hamlin had a win at Darlington taken away and given to Cole Custer after his car failed heights.

Christopher Bell had his third-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in June taken away when his car failed inspection. His car was found to be too low in the front and too high in the rear.

Kaulig Racing has twice had AJ Allmendinger‘s car disqualified. The car was disqualified after Allmendinger’s third-place finish at Daytona in July when inspection showed that the engine would not hold a vacuum. Allmendinger’s second-place finish was taken away when his car failed to meet minimum height requirements at Watkins Glen.

Results, points standings after Xfinity race at Las Vegas

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Tyler Reddick led the final 30 laps and saved enough fuel to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Reddick went the final 70 laps on one tank of fuel to beat Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier.

Reddick’s win is his fifth this season.

Ryan Sieg‘s 14th-place finish was disqualified after his car was too low on the right and left front. He will be credited with a last-place finish.

Click here for the updated race results.

The 12 driver playoff field was finalized with the conclusion of the race.

Here’s who will compete for the championship and their reset point totals.

Christopher Bell – 2,055

Cole Custer – 2,044

Tyler Reddick – 2,044

Austin Cindric – 2,017

Chase Briscoe – 2,012

Justin Allgaier – 2,012

Michael Annett – 2,009

Noah Gragson – 2,005

Brandon Jones – 2,004

Justin Haley – 2,003

Ryan Sieg – 2,0001

John Hunter Nemechek – 2,000

Click here for the point standings.