NASCAR specifies driver behavior punishment with rules update


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced several changes to its behavior policy that will include actions on and off the track and specific penalties for such violations.

Among the changes:

  • Penalizing a driver 50-100 points and/or $150,000-$250,000 fine and/or two-race suspension for “premeditatedly removing another competitor from championship contention in a dangerous manner when not racing for position based on the available evidence and specific circumstances of the incident.
  • A fine and/or indefinite suspension or termination  for “public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based on that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicapping condition.”
  • NASCAR members could face a fine and/or indefinite suspension or termination after being charged with or convicted of significant criminal violations (e.g. Domestic Violence, Trafficking, Assault), or having had determinations rendered by criminal or civil authorities that in NASCAR’s judgment necessitate action. NASCAR will not pre-judge guilt or innocence in the criminal or civil legal system, or the guilt or innocence of the Member, but rather review each matter in its own context and circumstances and with regards to its potential effects upon the sport.”
  • NASCAR members would lose 25-50 points and/or fined $50,000-$100,000 fine and/or one race suspension, indefinite suspension or termination for physical confrontation with a NASCAR Official, media members, fans, etc., member-to-member confrontations with physical violence and other violent manifestations such as significant threat(s) and/or abuse and/or endangerment, attempting to manipulate the outcome of a race or championship and intentionally wrecking another vehicle.”

Among the factors NASCAR may consider when reviewing a matter would include: When and where the incident occurred, the perceivable or potential ramifications to others and/or to the sport, member’s past history, possible effects to fans, safety, workers, crew members.

All NASCAR members in the sport’s national series are subject to these rules, whether driver, team owner, crew member or other. The penalties are appealable.

Jim Cassidy, senior vice president, racing operations, said the penalties for intentionally wrecking a competitor is meant to make the rule precise.

“To be clear, this is not an effort to change the way the drivers race today,’’ he said. “NASCAR is an aggressive sport. We understand that drivers are going to be aggressive to race for position.

“That is not going to change. That’s a very significant point. It’s spelled out in the rule and we understand that. We also understand that there are points in time when competitors can cross the line and they should have a better understanding of what exactly may transpire if it’s determined they cross the line.’’

One of Matt Kenseth’s complaints last year about being suspended two races for wrecking Joey Logano during last year’s Chase was that there was not precedent for NASCAR to suspend him for such action, noting officials did not do so to Jeff Gordon in 2012 when he wrecked Clint Bowyer during a Chase race at Phoenix.

The updated policy doesn’t change what NASCAR would do in a situation similar to last year with Kurt Busch but makes it clear.

NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch last year after a Delaware Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not” that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend. NASCAR lifted the suspension shortly after the Delaware Department of Justice announced it would not seek charges and Busch completed requirements set by NASCAR.

Also included is how NASCAR will react to negative comments directed toward NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and the series.

“That’s not new,’’ Cassidy said. “We’ve been pretty clear as it relates to taking on the sport versus taking on a call and so what you’ll see that is also part of it. You’ll also see part of it taking on media members, taking on fans, taking on partners. It’s an effort to state entirely what we expect of our members.’’

Cassidy said the changes are intended to better define penalties.

“I would say it’s not do as you see fit,” he said. “Far from do as you see fit. The problem was we didn’t spell it out as clearly as we could. I think the perception might have been do as you see fit. But there’s been a whole lot of thought, process that went into it.

“We don’t want perception that anything is do as you see fit. We are so far from that today as a sport. It’s a good thing for us. It’s a good thing for our competitiors and everyone involved and the fans to understand what’s happening.”

Cassidy said there will remain room for competitors to not agree with each other and avoid a penalty. NASCAR did not penalize Kevin Harvick after he shoved Jimmie Johnson in the motorhome lot after the opening Chase race last year at Chicagoland Speedway.

“You’ll see that spelled out at the beginning, situations like that,” Cassidy said. “There are heat-of-the moment situations that we think … will be situations where competitors work things out themselves and we need not get involved. When we do get involved it could be a conversation, it could be a warning, it could be probation. But in situations where it is that, then you’re probably going to look for us to have the competitors work it out themselves or have us intervene and help them work it out together.”


NASCAR Power Rankings: William Byron, Kyle Busch rank 1-2


Kyle Busch moved closer to the top spot after his win Sunday at WWT Raceway, but William Byron keeps hold of No. 1 after another top-10 run.

The series heads to Sonoma Raceway this weekend, the second race of the season on a road course.


(Previous ranking in parenthesis)

1. William Byron (1) — He goes into Sonoma with six consecutive top-10 finishes after his eighth-place result at WWT Raceway. Byron has led a series-high 717 laps this season.

2. Kyle Busch (4) — Recorded his third win of the season Sunday. He is tied with Byron for most wins this year. Busch scored 59 of a maximum 60 points and won his first stage of the year Sunday. He has 16 playoff points. Only Byron has more with 17 this season.

3. Kyle Larson (3) — His fourth-place finish continued his up-and-down season. In the last nine races, Larson has two wins, four top fives, a 20th-place result and four finishes of 30th or worse. He has led 588 laps this season, which ranks second this year to Byron.

4. Martin Truex Jr. (2) — His fifth-place finish is his sixth top 10 in the last eight races. He ranks third in laps led this year with 383.

5. Denny Hamlin (7) — Runner-up result at WWT Raceway is his fourth top 10 in the last seven races.

6. Ryan Blaney (10) — Followed Coca-Cola 600 win with a sixth-place run at WWT Raceway. He had an average running position of 2.6 on Sunday, second only to winner Kyle Busch’s average running position of 1.9.

7. Joey Logano (9) — Third-place finish is his second top 10 in the last four races.

8. Kevin Harvick (NR) — His 10th-place finish is his fourth consecutive finish of 11th or better.

9. Ross Chastain (6) — Lost the points lead after placing 22nd, his third consecutive finish outside the top 20.

10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (NR) — Headed for his eighth top 15 in a row until he was collected in a crash after the contact between Austin Cindric and Austin Dillon late in Sunday’s race.

Dropped out: Chase Elliott (5th), Tyler Reddick (8th)

NASCAR will not penalize Austin Cindric for incident with Austin Dillon


Despite Richard Childress and Austin Dillon saying that Austin Cindric intentionally wrecked Dillon late in Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway, NASCAR will not penalize Cindric.

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that there would be no penalty to Cindric after reviewing the contact.

Dillon and Childress were upset about the incident, which brought out the caution on Lap 220 of the 243-lap race. Dillon said NASCAR should suspend Cindric for the contact, just as NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for hooking Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600.

Contact between the left front of Cindric’s car and the right rear of Dillon’s car sent Dillon up the track into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Dillon finished 31st. Cindric continued and placed 13th.

Dillon told “I was wrecked intentionally by (Cindric), hooked right just like Chase and Denny and Bubba’s deal (in wrecking Kyle Larson at Las Vegas in 2022). He better be suspended next week.”

Childress said: “(Dillon) had drove up to about 10th until (Cindric) wrecked him in there on purpose, sort of a payback.”

Sawyer said a review of the incident included viewing video and data.

“We didn’t see anything — and haven’t seen anything — that really would rise to a level that would be a suspension or a penalty,” Sawyer said. “It looked like hard racing. One car coming up a little bit and another car going down.

“As we said last week, we take these incidents very serious when we see cars that are turned head-on into another car or head-on into the wall. I spent a lot of time (Monday) looking at that, looking at all the data, looking at TV footage and just deemed this one really hard racing.”

Sawyer said NASCAR plans to talk to both Cindric and Dillon “to make sure we’re all in a good place as we move forward to Sonoma.”



Seven Cup drivers entered in Xfinity race at Sonoma


Kyle Larson is among seven Cup drivers entered in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

The race marks the first time the Xfinity Series has competed at the California road course. Teams will get 50 minutes of practice Friday because this is a new event on the schedule. That additional time will give those Cup drivers more laps on the 1.99-mile road course.

MORE: Sonoma Xfinity entry list

Here is a look at what Xfinity rides the Cup drivers will pilot this weekend:

The race is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.

The ARCA Menards Series West also is competing this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Cup driver Ryan Preece is entered in that event. Xfinity drivers Cole Custer, Riley Herbst, Sammy Smith and Parker Retzlaff also are entered in that race, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday.


Winners and losers at WWT Raceway


Winners and losers from Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway:


Kyle BuschWins the pole, leads the most laps and holds the field off over the last five restarts to win the race. He scored six playoff points, giving him 16 on the season, second only to William Byron’s 17. Busch left Joe Gibbs Racing after last season for Richard Childress Racing. Busch’s three wins this year equals what JGR has done so far.

Ryan BlaneyHis sixth-place finish moved him into the points lead. He last led the points after the spring 2022 Richmond race. Blaney also won a stage Sunday to collect another playoff point. He has seven this season.

Kyle LarsonFourth-place finish was a big turnaround after struggles earlier in the race. It has not been easy for this team the last few weeks. He has three top-five finishes and four finishes of 20th or worse in the last seven races.

Daniel SuarezHis seventh-place finish moved him up two spots to 16th in the standings, the final playoff transfer spot at this time.


Ross ChastainHe finished 22nd for his third consecutive result outside the top 20. He entered the weekend leading the points and fell to fifth afterward. He is 29 points behind new series leader Ryan Blaney with 11 races left in the regular season.

Tyler ReddickRebounded from an early spin to lead but had his race end after a brake rotor failed. He was one of four drivers eliminated by brake rotor failures. The others were Carson Hocevar, Bubba Wallace and Noah Gragson.