Failing Post Race Could Mean Stiffer Penalties In Chase - And Missing Out

NASCAR announced today that drivers that fail both post race laser inspection or are in violation of the lug nut rule could face stiffer penalties - up to and including loss of points, money and an unfavorable finish in the chase standings.

The changes allow NASCAR officials to strip race-winning teams of the benefits associated with a Chase victory, which include the automatic advancement into the next elimination round and any tiebreaker implications, should those teams fail the post-race lug-nut check or the post-race Laser Inspection Station (LIS) platform.

Previously, lug-nut infractions have resulted in a one-race suspension and a fine for the crew chief while LIS failures have carried a point deduction in the drivers' and owners' championship points, in addition to the crew chief fine. Going into the Chase, post-race failure of the LIS platform now will be deemed a P4 level penalty if a vehicle's rear toe measurements exceed the allowed measurements on both sides.

"The changes are made to assure that we have a level playing field and make sure that there's not a carrot out there for the team to have excessive violations when it comes to lug nuts and the LIS post-race measurements," Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, told "As we worked with those penalties during the season we realized we probably needed to have a little bit more in place as Chase time rolled around.

Miller noted that the "encumbered finish" is already a part of the NASCAR rulebook. "This just adds a little bit of definition to how we will use it moving forward," he said.

Six Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams have been penalized this year for failing the LIS portion of the post-race inspection process -- Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet (Dover); Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (New Hampshire), Brad Keselowski, Team Penske No. 2 Ford (Michigan), Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (Darlington), Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet (Darlington) and Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota (Richmond).

Miller said he expects the rules to remain in place for the 2017 season as well.

In the Sprint Cup Series, the first violation would result in an encumbered finishing position, the loss of 35 championship driver and owner points, as well as a three-race suspension and $65,000 fine for the crew chief.

In the XFINITY Series, the penalties would be the same, but the crew chief fine would be $20,000.