NASCAR Rules Guy

How new qualifying impacts the Duels

February 11, 2013, Staff report , NASCAR.COM

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New format places premium on speed and top-15 finish in Duels

Editor's note: This story was part of an official NASCAR release on Feb. 4, 2014. As part of its wide-ranging initiatives to transform its competition model, NASCAR announced in February of 2014 enhancements to its penalty structure and appeals process. ... Read More

New format places premium on speed and top-15 finish in Duels

Editor's note: This story was part of an official NASCAR release on Feb. 4, 2014. As part of its wide-ranging initiatives to transform its competition model, NASCAR announced in February of 2014 enhancements to its penalty structure and appeals process. ... Read More

Qualifying changes for 2013

January 03, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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The new qualifying format for the 2013 season places a greater emphasis on speed. The fastest 36 cars will automatically qualify for races this year in NASCAR’s new 36-6-1 format.

Once those cars are determined, the next six highest ranking cars in owners points will make the field. The final starting position is given to the most recent eligible past champion. If that does not apply, then the final car will be selected based on owners points. The order of qualifying for Sprint Cup Series events will return to a random draw; if qualifying is canceled due to rain, the starting lineup will be determined based on practice speeds. VIDEO: John Darby explains Daytona 500 qualifying. One final change for the SCS, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series is that the provisional positions will be based on owner points from the 2012 season for the first three races. It was previously the first five races for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, and four for the Camping World Truck Series. ... Read More

The new qualifying format for the 2013 season places a greater emphasis on speed. The fastest 36 cars will automatically qualify for races this year in NASCAR’s new 36-6-1 format.

Once those cars are determined, the next six highest ranking cars in owners points will make the field. The final starting position is given to the most recent eligible past champion. If that does not apply, then the fin... Read More

Road course group qualifying explained

June 20, 2013, Staff report , NASCAR.COM

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Sprint Cup to have several cars on track for Coors Light Pole Qualifying

In a move aimed toward enhancing the fan experience watching at the track and at home, NASCAR announced a new group qualifying format in January of 2014 for its three national series. ... Read More

Sprint Cup to have several cars on track for Coors Light Pole Qualifying

In a move aimed toward enhancing the fan experience watching at the track and at home, NASCAR announced a new group qualifying format in January of 2014 for its three national series. ... Read More

How pit road speed limit is calculated

December 13, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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Pit road speed -- how is it calculated, why does it matter and how does it come into play?

There isn't a policeman hiding behind the pit wall with a radar gun, and there aren't speedometers in NASCAR racing vehicles. So how do teams and officials measure pit-road speed limits with a certain amount of precision? We've all seen it happen -- a driver will seem to be minding his own business, making his way down pit road when all of a sudden he gets word that he's been penalized for speeding. But this is NASCAR -- cars are supposed to go fast, right? Yes, but during certain points of the race and in certain locations a particular speed needs to be maintained in order to establish safety for drivers, pit crews and fans. This comes into play on pit road because of the potential frenzy of 43 cars trying to beat each other to the line for track position. Sure, this all makes sense, but in a NASCAR world where more than two miles separate the largest from the smallest tracks, how is this speed calculated? And is it the same for all tracks? The pit road speed varies from track to track, with shorter ones (Bristol, Martinsville, New Hampshire) exhibiting a slower speed than the behemoths o... Read More

Pit road speed -- how is it calculated, why does it matter and how does it come into play?

There isn't a policeman hiding behind the pit wall with a radar gun, and there aren't speedometers in NASCAR racing vehicles. So how do teams and officials measure pit-road speed limits with a certain amount of precision? We've all seen it happen -- a driver will seem to be minding his own business, making... Read More

NASCAR by the numbers

December 20, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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Fans connect to their favorite drivers via numbers

Numbers help define NASCAR. Lap times and speeds are measured in miles per hour and seconds, and then there's historic numbers -- such as seven championships for Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, or 92 career wins (and counting) for Jeff Gordon. Perhaps no numbers are more meaningful to fans, though, as car numbers. It's how fans spot their favorite drivers on the track, and it instills a sense of loyalty. It's why you see so many Earnhardt fans still holding on to all those "3" shirts. Those car numbers don't always last an entire career, however. For example, before the 2013 season, Matt Kenseth had driven the No. 17 for Roush Fenway Racing in every race from 2000-2012 (466 total). When he moved to Joe Gibbs Racing, he did not take the No. 17 with him. Instead, he got in a car with a number already allotted to JGR -- the 20. From 2008-2012, both Tony Stewart and Joey Logano had driven that car. The numbers aren't owned by teams, though. NASCAR owns all numbers and assigns them to car owners. The sanctioning body maintains the right to revoke or transfer any number at any time. Because NASCAR owns the rights to all nu... Read More

Fans connect to their favorite drivers via numbers

Numbers help define NASCAR. Lap times and speeds are measured in miles per hour and seconds, and then there's historic numbers -- such as seven championships for Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, or 92 career wins (and counting) for Jeff Gordon. Perhaps no numbers are more meaningful to fans, though, as car numbers. It's how fans spot their favo... Read More

Capping the field at 43

January 03, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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In NASCAR’s infancy, seeing more than 70 cars on the track was always a possibility -- especially at tracks such as Darlington Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. A standard field size evolved along with the sport.

In NASCAR's infancy, seeing more than 70 cars on the track was always a possibility -- especially at tracks such as Darlington Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. A standard field size evolved along with the sport. At first, entries gradually decreased due to prevailing economic hardships. Fields that were once 75 became fields of 40 as recent as 20 years ago -- and the number was closer to 30 cars on smaller tracks. At that point, fields were tailored to individual tracks and lacked a consistent method Those numbers ticked upward to 42 and 36, respectively, until NASCAR -- which had long discussed the need to standardize fields -- implemented a mandatory 43-car field for all three national circuits for the 1998 season and beyond. The first 36 spots are decided in time trials, while spots 37-42 are determined with four provisionals. The 43rd position is reserved for a former Sprint Cup champion that has not otherwise qualified. ... Read More

In NASCAR’s infancy, seeing more than 70 cars on the track was always a possibility -- especially at tracks such as Darlington Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. A standard field size evolved along with the sport.

In NASCAR's infancy, seeing more than 70 cars on the track was always a possibility -- especially at tracks such as Darlington Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. A st... Read More

2013 competition changes

January 03, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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NASCAR announced a number of competition changes for the 2013 season, highlighted by a new qualifying format in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that places a greater emphasis on speed. A breakdown of next season’s slate of competition updates:

This story was originally published on Sept. 23, 2014 but was updated on Jan. 5, 2015. A reduction in horsepower, a shorter rear spoiler and an optional driver adjustable track bar were among the nearly five dozen changes that encompass the 2015 rules package for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. After nearly a year of testing and collaboration to arrive at the package, NASCAR officials informed teams of the 2015 changes. In addition to the changes in "hard parts," NASCAR has banned all private testing by teams for next season. Organizations will be allowed to participate in NASCAR/Goodyear tests only. Teams currently are allowed to test at non-sanctioned facilities as often as they choose, and have a minimum number of tests allowed at tracks that host Sprint Cup Series races. There also will not be a preseason test at Daytona International Speedway leading into the season-opening Daytona 500. Teams were expected to be at the 2.5-mi... Read More

NASCAR announced a number of competition changes for the 2013 season, highlighted by a new qualifying format in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that places a greater emphasis on speed. A breakdown of next season’s slate of competition updates:

This story was originally published on Sept. 23, 2014 but was updated on Jan. 5, 2015. A reduction in horsepower, a shorter rear spoiler and an optional drive... Read More

NASCAR racing flags

December 13, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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Find out what each flag means in a NASCAR race

Racing flags give NASCAR officials the ability to communicate with drivers during races. The flagman, perched in a stand high above the start/finish line, waves the appropriate flag when necessary. The eight flags: Green flag: Displayed at the start of the race, and during restarts. The lead driver cannot be passed on the track before the green flag is waving. Yellow flag: Signals a caution, which tells drivers to slow down to a predetermined speed. Debris on the track or a wreck are typically the chief culprits for this flag. Red flag: Signifies the race must be stopped immediately, regardless of the cars' position on the track. This is usually for safety reasons -- for example, a red flag was issued following Juan Pablo Montoya's collision with a jet dryer at the 2012 Daytona 500. Black flag: Think of the black flag as the "consultation flag." Whichever driver is given the black flag must respond to a concern from NASCAR. Common examples include speeding on pit road, dropping debris on the track or failing to maintain the minimum speed on the track. Drivers have five laps to respond to the black f... Read More

Find out what each flag means in a NASCAR race

Racing flags give NASCAR officials the ability to communicate with drivers during races. The flagman, perched in a stand high above the start/finish line, waves the appropriate flag when necessary. The eight flags: Green flag: Displayed at the start of the race, and during restarts. The lead driver cannot be passed on the track before the green ... Read More

Freezing the field

December 13, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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When a caution comes out, the field is "frozen", but what does that mean?

In September of 2003, with an eye on further ensuring the safety of competitors, NASCAR announced that racing back to the caution was no longer permitted in all three of the sport's national series. That rule change led NASCAR to institute a procedure where the field is "frozen" on the track once the caution comes out. So what exactly does "freezing the field" entail? ... Read More

When a caution comes out, the field is "frozen", but what does that mean?

In September of 2003, with an eye on further ensuring the safety of competitors, NASCAR announced that racing back to the caution was no longer permitted in all three of the sport's national series. That rule change led NASCAR to institute a procedure where the field is "frozen" on the track once the cau... Read More