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CONCORD, NC — NASCAR has announced a series of rule changes for the 2023 season that include banning the move Ross Chastain made in Martinsville and eliminating stage breaks at all six road events in the Chopped off.
NASCAR announced the changes during a session with reporters Tuesday at the NASCAR R&D Center.
Among the novelties of this season:
Updated penalty for a wheel coming off a car. Changed the time teams have to repair cars on pit road via the damaged vehicle policy. Changed playoff eligibility for drivers. Cars could run in wet weather on short ovals. Expanded restart area on a trial basis. Choosing the rule will be in place for more races. MORE: Ranking The Clash’s Top 10 Moments
NASCAR updated its policy on a loose wheel. Previously, if a wheel came off a car during an event, it was a four-stroke suspension for the crew chief and two pit crew members. That changed this year.
If a wheel comes off a car while the vehicle is still on pit road, the vehicle will restart at the rear end of the field. If a wheel comes off a vehicle while it is on pit road in green flag conditions, it is a passing penalty.
The rule changes once a vehicle has left pit road and loses a wheel.
Any vehicle that loses a wheel on the track will be penalized two laps and will see two pit crew members suspended for two races. The suspensions will go to those who are most responsible for the wheel coming off. This change removes a suspension from the team leader. The policy is the same for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks.
Some pit crew members working on multiple series, the suspension is only for this series. So if a pit crew member is suspended two Xfinity Series races for a loose wheel, they can still compete in the Cup race the following day.
The damaged vehicle policy clock will be 7 minutes this season. It had been six minutes last year and was increased to 10 minutes during the playoffs. After talking to the teams, NASCAR has set itself seven minutes for teams to make pit road repairs or be eliminated. Teams may replace toe links on pit road but not control arms. Teams are also not allowed to have specialist repair tools in the pits.
NASCAR will offer a wet weather package for select oval tracks: the Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Lucas Oil Raceway Park, Martinsville, Milwaukee, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix and Richmond.
Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition for NASCAR, said teams were asked to come to these events prepared for wet weather conditions as they would on a road course. This includes having a windshield wiper. Rain tires will be available.
“Our goal here is to get back to racing as soon as possible,” Swayer said. “…If there’s an opportunity for us to put cars or trucks on the circuit and speed up that process (of drying the track) and we can get back to racing, that’s our goal. We don’t want to race in the pouring rain (on these tracks) and we get spray like we would on a road course.
NASCAR said it was removing the requirement that a winning driver be in the top 30 in Cup points or in the top 20 in Xfinity or Trucks to become eligible for the playoffs. As long as a driver is competing full-time – or has a waiver for races they missed, a win will make them eligible for the playoffs.
With driver consultation, NASCAR is expanding the restart area to give the leader more room to take off. NASCAR said it would assess whether to keep that in place after the Atlanta race in March.
NASCAR said the choice rule will be in effect for superspeedways and dirt races.