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It is actually an engineering equasion coupled with timing lines on pit road. NASCAR allows a five mph buffer that most teams push to it's limit.
I have noticed that most speeding penalties are handed out during pit stops after long green flag runs. I'm guessing that this is due to higher tire pressures giving false readings to the driver. When tire pressures are up the circumference of the tire is larger thus adding speed to the drivetrain, causing inaccurate tach readings.
Just a thought...
This would have some degree of error, I agree. Perhaps there should be a rule that says if a driver has 3 warnings for speeding then he get's a stop and go penalty. A warning would come if the driver exceeds the 5 mph buffer even by one mile per hour. They wouldn't be wanting to exceed the buffer that way by to many times, I'm sure.