The days of crews thrashing on crashed cars in garage stalls in a frantic effort to get the cars back on the track are over.
NASCAR explained its new damaged car policy Wednesday, a rule that prohibits drivers from taking a crashed vehicle to the garage and re-entering a race. If a team can’t fix a damaged car within five minutes on pit road, the car is ineligible to return to competition.
Teams are also prohibited from adding body pieces to a car while fixing crash damage. See that matte black piece on the right front of Austin Dillon’s car? His team won’t be able to add that in 2017.
Teams are able to repair issues that haven’t arisen because of crashes and return to the race. So if a team has a broken track bar mount and the car doesn’t crash, the driver can get the car to the garage for the team to repair it before returning to the race.
It’s fair to assume the rule will cost a lot of teams some points in 2017. After all, the main goal of getting a repaired car back on the track was to gain a point or two in the hopes that someone else would crash out.
That point or two is especially critical in the Chase. After all, Denny Hamlin advanced to the third round of the Chase in 2016 because of a tiebreaker over Austin Dillon. But NASCAR is hoping that added bonus points for segment performances in 2017 as well as the addition of regular season bonus points in the second and third rounds of the Chase will prevent a situation where a driver being prevented from returning to the track will lose out on advancing in the Chase.
– – – – – – –