NASCAR unveils stricter penalty system for 2022 season

NASCAR has updated its penalty system with an L1 - L3 structure ahead of the 2022 season.

NASCAR race
NASCAR race

NASCAR has come up with an updated penalty system that includes much harsher consequences for violations. The new L1 – L3 penalty structure has come just before the official introduction of the Next-Gen car, signalling big changes for race teams.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, said of the changes: “As we discussed during the test at Charlotte, and at length with teams over the offseason, the new deterrence model will be a culture shift for our industry.

“The car was a collaborative project, designed to emphasize performance at the track and the unrivalled abilities of our teams, drivers and pit crews. There will be strong penalties for any teams who run contrary to that design so the fans can focus on our drivers and the great racing expected from NASCAR.”

Breakdown of updated penalty structure for the NASCAR Cup Series

Level 1 Penalty 

Level 1 (L1) penalties may include but are not limited to:

  • Team sourced parts not meeting the NASCAR Rule Book not rising to a higher penalty level.
  • Failure to meet minimum weight after the race.
  • Failure to submit and receive approval of parts as per the NASCAR Rule Book.

Penalty options:

  • Loss of 20-75 points
  • Loss of 1-10 playoff points
  • 1-3 race suspension for team members
  • 1 team event roster position subject to suspension
  • $25,000 – $100,000 fine

Level 2 Penalty

Level 2 (L2) penalties may include but are not limited to:

  • Modifications to NextGen single-source vendors supplied parts and/or assemblies not rising to an L3 penalty.
  • Failure to meet the engine seal requirements.
  • Major external engine parts, not part of the long block, differ from what is required by the rules.
  • Anything that alters or affects the engine control system wiring harness and/or the certified engine control system wiring sub-harnesses.
  • Onboard electronics not approved in advance by NASCAR.
  • Violation of the Vehicle Testing Policy not rising to a higher level.

Penalty options:

  • Loss of 75-120 points
  • Loss of 10-25 playoff points
  • 4-6 race suspension for team members
  • 1-2 team event roster positions subject to suspension
  • $100,000 – $250,000 fine

Level 3 Penalty

Level 3 (L3) penalties may include but are not limited to:

  • Counterfeiting or modifying Next Gen single-source vendor-supplied parts and/or assemblies.
  • Engine infractions (e.g. cubic inch displacement, compression ratio, long block assembly, and/or internal parts) not meeting the rules.
  • Engine performance enhancements (e.g. nitrous oxide, vacuum leaks, etc.).
  • ECU/EFI parts not being used as the rules permit.
  • Altering/modifying tires and/or fuel.
  • Violating the Vehicle Testing Policy.

Penalty options:

  • Loss of 120-180 points
  • Loss of 25-50 playoff points
  • No playoff eligibility for driver and/or team owner
  • 6-race suspension for team member(s) on the team roster
  • 1-2 team event roster positions subject to suspension
  • NASCAR could suspend the car number for one race
  • $250,000 – $500,000 fine

Also Read | How much does it cost to be a NASCAR driver?