On Tuesday, NASCAR announced that the sanctioning body will be doing away with stage break cautions at NASCAR Cup Series road course events during the 2023 season.
Additionally, NASCAR will also remove Stage break cautions from NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races that serve as companion events to NASCAR Cup Series race weekends.
While Stage break cautions will be abolished, Stage Wins and the point bonuses that go along with them will still be awarded throughout the 2023 season on road courses. There will just not be a stoppage of the event to signify the ending of a Stage.
NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standalone road course events will still utilize a Stage break caution.
In addition to the removal of stage breaks for NASCAR Cup Series road course races, NASCAR announced a plethora of other competition rules updates for the 2023 season.
The move that Ross Chastain utilized at Martinsville Speedway in the fall, where he opted to ride the outside wall, in order to advance into the Championship 4 of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, has officially been outlawed.
Any driver that performs the “Hail Melon” going forward at any race track will be assessed a time penalty.
Another change, and undoubtedly a welcome one for crew chiefs, is that NASCAR will no longer suspend crew chiefs for wheels that break loose from cars during race weekends.
NASCAR is also shrinking the penalty that will be levied for crew members for loose wheels, as two crew members will now serve a two-race suspension for loose wheels in 2023.
Previously, when a car had a wheel separate during a NASCAR race weekend, the crew chief, and two crew members would be suspended for four events for the infraction.
NASCAR has also done away with the requirement that a driver must remain inside the top-30 in NASCAR Cup Series points or top-20 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings in order to be eligible for the Playoffs.
Now, if a driver outside the top-30 of the Cup points or top-20 of the Xfinity or Truck points scores a race win, they will be eligible to make the Playoffs provided they are being scored for points in the series.
NASCAR will also add the choose rule for restarts at superspeedway and dirt racing events during the 2023 season. Since the adaptation of the choose rule NASCAR has not instituted the rule at those style of tracks.
The restart zone will also see a slight tweak for the opening five races of the 2023 season, as the zone will be increased by 50% in length. NASCAR will judge how those changes impacted the overall spirit of competition to assess whether the increased restart zone will continue past the Atlanta Motor Speedway race weekend.
NASCAR has also changed the time limit on the damaged vehicle policy (DVP) to seven minutes.
Another interesting wrinkle will be the adaptation of wet weather tires at select ovals during the 2023 NASCAR season. The oval tracks where the wet-weather package will be available include the LA Memorial Coliseum, IRP, Martinsville, Milwaukee Mile, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix and Richmond.
And as far as bonus programs go for the 2023 season, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash4Cash and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Triple Truck Challenge programs will return for the upcoming season.
The four races in the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash4Cash are Richmond, Martinsville, Talladega, and Dover. The qualifier race for D4C is Circuit of the Americas.
The three Triple Truck Challenge races will be Charlotte, Gateway and Nashville.