Monday, June 5, 2023

NASCAR Removes Ability of National Motorsports Appeals Panel to Completely Rescind Any Element in Assessed Penalties

NASCAR appeals process changes
NASCAR made sweeping changes to the NASCAR Rule Book on Thursday which address the appeals process for penalties within the sport. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

On Thursday evening, NASCAR made adjustments to the sanctioning body’s rule book as it pertains to assessed penalties and the appeals process afterward.

Going forward, NASCAR will no longer allow the National Motorsports Appeals Panel (and the Final Appeal Officer) to completely remove any element of the original assessed penalty if the panel agrees that a team is in violation of a section of the rule book. Instead, NASCAR has laid out minimum and maximum penalty ranges for each infraction.

The Appeals panel will be able to alter elements of assessed penalties, but the altered penalties will have to fall within those minimum and maximum ranges.

Additionally, to add transparency to the appeals process, NASCAR officially has the right to publish the Appeals Panel / Final Appeals Officer’s justification for modifying or rescinding a penalty, a practice that the sanctioning body has never participated in.

This rule book change comes on the heels of Hendrick Motorsports earning the 100 driver points and owner points and 10 Playoff Points that were deducted from all four of it’s NASCAR Cup Series teams after an appeal following the race weekend at Phoenix Raceway, despite the Appeals Panel ruling that the teams were all found to have illegal hood louvers prior to opening practice.

In future instances, the Appeals Panel would be able to lessen the points penalty, but the points penalty would not be allowed to be totally removed per the NASCAR rule book. The same goes for monetary fines and suspensions or any other element added to an assessed penalty, so long as it falls in line with the minimum and maximum range of a specific penalty as described by the NASCAR Rule Book.

The only way to completely reverse penalties going forward is to have the Appeals Panel agree that a rule was not broken by a team.

It’s been a wild few weeks for NASCAR and the National Motorsports Appeals Panel, which have come under scrutiny after Kaulig Racing was only awarded 25 points back of its 100-point penalty for the same infraction that Hendrick Motorsports was busted for during the Phoenix race weekend.

Kaulig Racing has entered the Final Appeals process and will meet with the Final Appeals Officer. NASCAR has confirmed to that as Kaulig Racing’s penalty occurred before this rule change, the Final Appeals Officer will not be held to these updated appeals process rule changes for that case.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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