NASCAR Rules Change: Darlington fire brings update

NASCAR has changed the rulebook in reaction to the fire at Darlington Raceway

On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs opened via Darlington Raceway. Kevin Harvick’s race ended in a ball of flames as his car caught fire.

View the new NASCAR rules below.

For 2022, NASCAR released the Next Gen car. It’s a spec car, identical from team to team. That also means that in some cases, teams are not in control of preventing things like this. They’re unable to change areas of the car.

The fire appears to have started from rubber buildup. No contact led up to the fire. However, the fire breached the cockpit and forced Harvick to exit the car.

Once he came to a stop, flames engufed the machine. It was on fire on both sides.

Kevin Harvick commented on the fire

“They haven’t fixed anything. We just let it keep going and keep going,” Harvick said in frustration after the fire.

Harvick added, “What a disaster. For no reason! We didn’t touch the wall, we didn’t touch a car and here we are in the pits with a burned up car and can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of crappy ass parts.”

Kevin Harvick blames crappy parts for NASCAR fire at Darligton (Video)

Kevin Harvick’s crew chief vocal on NASCAR fire; Deletes tweets

NASCAR comments on the fire

However, NASCAR sprung into action.

“We’re certainly digging into the cause,” Miller said on Tuesday via Sirius XM Radio. “We have cars down (at NASCAR’s R&D Center) this morning looking for any signs of anything that may have triggered that.”

He explained, “And you know, we have done so all year. I mean, there’s a lot of rubber at Darlington, the ‘cheese grater’ that we always talk about, so we’re not certain if rubber getting into the rocker box was the problem or not, but we’re debriefing it all.”

NASCAR looking into Darlington fire

9 races remain in the 2022 season. On Wednesday, a set of new rules were announced. These rules are in reaction to the fire at Darlington Raceway.

New NASCAR Rules

The new rules are effective September 9th, 2022:

Intumescent Coatings (Optional)
New NASCAR Rules
New NASCAR Rules

Intumescent coatings complying with SFI 54.1 (for example, TEMPROTEX F1ER) are permitted for the underside of the Lower Crush Panels, inside the Exhaust Cover Panels and the upper surface of the Rocker Box.

These locations are shown above.

It is also permitted to apply the coating to the right side Tegris/MC2p/Polyweave Back Stop Panel – NG725140.

Front Weight Box/Splitter Seal (Mandatory)
Front Weight Box - NASCAR Rules Update
Front Weight Box – NASCAR Rules Update

A lateral seal/dam must be installed between the back of the front clip weight box and the top of the splitter panel (location shown above). This seal must extend laterally to the width of the engine panel.

The propose of this dam is to reduce migration of tire derbis from the splitter area.

Back Stop Panel Material (Mandatory)
Back Stop Panel - NASCAR Rule Change
Back Stop Panel – NASCAR Rule Change

Lower front section of the right side back stop panel must be trimmed as indicated. The section that is removed must be replaced by a 14 gauge stainless steel panel. The steel panel must be mounted inboard of the polymer panel.

Files for the stainless steel panel and the trimmed version of the polymer panel are attached. The trim line for the polymer panel is 1″ below the fasterner centerline, as shown above.

Exhaust Installation

Using any joint adjustement available in the exhaust assembly, it is recommended that the clearance between the exhaust and the floor of the rocker box is maximized.

Watch the Kevin Harvick fire video


Kevin Harvick | Darlington Raceway | NASCAR