NASCAR penalty system updated with possible $500k fine

As NASCAR rolls out it’s new spec chassis, the possible penalties for violations are far more strict

For 2022, the entire game will change. NASCAR will roll out the Next Gen car. It’s a spec chassis, designed to keep the costs down and the playing field level.

View the 2022 NASCAR penalty levels below.

That’s a stark contrast frok years prior. Previously, teams would develop their own cars and parts, around the rules NASCAR gave them. Each team would then push every limit of each line within the rule book.

The mindset of the teams remains the same, they’ll want to push boundaries. However, NASCAR has issued a major penalty level update, informing teams not to do so.

The last major update to the NASCAR penalty system dates back to 2017. In 2019, disqualifications were added as a possible penalty for an L1 or L2 violation.

Related: Kurt Busch talks NASCAR penalties; Pushing the rule book from a drivers perspective

NASCAR comments on the new rules

“To make sure that all of those things stay above board, there’s going to have to be a culture shift from the way that the teams and NASCAR, for that matter, have done business,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition.

“So this deterrence model has more meat in it, more meaningful penalties, but I think we all thought that it was it was time for this with the introduction of the new car.”

O’Donnell added, “It used to be ‘let’s see what we can get away with and go racing.’ That’s not the case with this car. We’ve built this car to try and make it as fundamentally sound as possible in collaboration with the teams and then really put it on teams, and drivers and pit crews to go out there and win races.”

Scott Miller comments

Scott Miller says that teams asked for changes.

“If there aren’t penalties for altering parts and pieces on the new car, then the business model with new car won’t work,” Miller said.

“So it was definitely something that was pressed for hard by the teams, and we’re doing our due diligence for establishing all the inspection procedures and all the different things. The rule book is a completely new rule book with lots more specifics than there were in the past.”

“If a regular-season violation has playoff ramifications to it,” Miller added, “obviously I think the teams will take that much more seriously than they ever did points with the current playoffs and playoff-point format that we have.”

Related: Greg Zipadelli of Stewart-Haas Racing says no NASCAR race car is 100% legal

Denny Hamlin crashes in NASCAR Roval practice - NASCAR official in garage area
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 27: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, looks over his car with an official after an on-track incident during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 27, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

NASCAR Penalty Levels

Here are the modified NASCAR penalties:

L1 penalty

L1 Violations include:

-Post-race failure to meet minimum weight requirements

-Team source parts not meeting the NASCAR Rules, but not rising to a higher-level penalty

-Failures in the submission and approval process of parts

L1 Penalty options include:

-Points deductions: 20-75 points

-Playoff points deductions: 1-10 points

-Suspension of one crewmember for 1-3 races

Fines: $25,000-$100,000.

L2 penalty

L2 Violations include:

-Modifications to single-source Next Gen parts not rising to L3 level infractions

-Violations of engine-seal requirements

-Unapproved alterations to the engine control system wiring

-Use of unapproved on-board electronics

L2 Penalty options include:

-Points deductions: 75-120 points

-Playoff points deductions: 10-25 points

-Suspension of one or two crewmembers for 4-6 races

Fines: $100,000-$250,000

L3 penalty

L3 Violations include:

-Counterfeiting or modifying single-source Next Gen parts

-Engine infractions (cubic-inch displacement, compression ratio, assembly and internal components) and performance enhancements (nitrous oxide, vacuum leaks)

-Engine Control Unit (ECU) or Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) violations

-Modifying tires and/or fuel

-Violations of private team testing policy

L3 Penalty options include:

-Points deductions: 120-180 points

-Playoff points deductions: 25-50 points

-Suspension of one or two crewmembers for six races

-Nullifying postseason eligibility, regardless of wins, points and other qualifying criteria

-One-race suspension for the team, in the event of repeat high-level violations

Fines: $250,000-$500,000