NASCAR has released a few more rule changes for the 2018 season on Thursday, with a big one of note. For the upcoming season, if a team sends too many crew members over the wall to fix a crashed race car, instead of being parked like the rule was last year, you will lose two-laps instead. That’s part of the new Damaged Vehicle Policy.
Last year, if a team sent more than six crew members over the wall, a car was parked for the duration of the race. A key example of this is what happened to Matt Kenseth at the Kansas Speedway on Oct. 22. Kenseth, was involved in a crash, but his car wasn’t beyond repair. He brought his No. 20 Toyota down pit lane to get fixed, but one crew member too many came over the wall to service the car. That eluded to them being parked for the rest of the race and his playoff hopes getting parked as well.
See, Kansas was an elimination race and at that point of the event in the Round of 12, all Kenseth had to do was really finish 20th or better. The driver he was racing for that final spot was Jimmie Johnson. Well, Johnson had spun twice in a matter of 10 laps and saw his No. 48 Chevrolet was basically junk. There was no way Johnson was going to beat Kenseth that day, even with a bent up race car for Kenseth, which meant Kenseth would have advanced to the Round of 8 if not for the penalty.
Then, Kenseth won the final race of the Round of 8 at Phoenix in November, meaning he would have been a part of the Championship 4. Instead, he was eliminated in the Round of 12.
If this new rule for 2018 was in place for 2017, Kenseth could have walked away as a potential champion.
NASCAR also added a minute to the time for teams to make repairs, as they now have six minutes on the Damage Vehicle Policy clock.
Another change was that NASCAR shortened the first round of qualifying at intermediate and short tracks from 20 minutes to 15 minutes.