NASCAR Is Banning Badly Damaged Cars From Returning to Races

NASCAR has added time restrictions fixing damaged cars, and limited repairs to pit lane. 

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Tom Pennington—Getty Images for NASCAR

When the green flag drops at NASCAR's Daytona 500 later this month, a new set of rules will put an end to badly damaged cars finishing races and trying to pick up scrap points over the season. Now, when a car receives enough damage during an on-track incident that crews have to push it back to the garage for repairs, that's it for the day. 

New NASCAR lower costs and increase safety

There didn't used to be much that could keep a car from returning to the track. Every lap turned has meaning in the accumulation of driver and team points over the course of a season, and they add up. But it also meant badly damaged cars, with diminished grip and aero, turned slow laps and created a hazard for other racers, as well as the drivers of the damaged cars. 

Under the new rules, all repairs have to happen on pit road, and be done by the pit crews. Body repairs are "limited to the removal or reattachment of original parts with fasteners and tape." Rods and supports may be used to reinforce original panels, and new or previously unused body panels are prohibited.

Teams are limited to a five-minute cumulative time limit to fix the cars. If they take any longer, the race is over for them.

The goal of the changes, according to NASCAR, are to offer a cost savings to teams, and to make the racing safer.

NASCAR adds a new medical response team

NASCAR officials also announced it has partnered up with American Medical Response, which will a physician and paramedics are present at every Monster Energy Cup event. AMR will also provide a small group that will travel to each race, and a physician who will serve as NASCAR’s primary doctor.

It's a system that seems to have been modeled on IndyCar's longstanding tradition of partnering up with Holmatro Safety Team, which has traveled with the open wheel series for nearly 25 years.