NASCAR announces new rules for repairing damaged vehicles during races

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NASCAR has announced a new update to their rules for repairing damaged vehicles during races.

The policy changes will begin with the 2017 season.

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 20: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Under the new guidelines, teams can no longer replace damaged body parts that are the result of accidents or contact. Repairs can be made but teams will be given five minutes to complete the fix once they enter pit road. If the damage requires the car to go behind pit wall or to the garage, or if the repairs exceed the five-minute time allowance, the car will not be allowed to return to the race.

After the repairs are made, cars are still required to maintain the minimum speed for the event. Once that is accomplished, the five-minute clock is reset in case cars need to return to pit road.

Before the policy change, teams were allowed to replace any damaged panels or parts with no time limit or penality.

“We have a lot of cars that are going back on the track that end up in 38th position, for instance, that probably don’t need to be out there from a safety and competition aspect,” Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, told NASCAR.com, “because they always tend to bring out more yellows with stuff falling off.”

Teams will be allowed to fix mechanical or electrical failures as long as they aren’t the result of an accident or contact without penalty. Repairs can be done on pit road or in the garage with no five-minute time limit.

Two other pit-road penalties will also be modified under the new policy.

Any driver receiving a pit-road speeding penalty upon entry or exit will lose 15 seconds from the five-minute clock.

Any team sending too many men over the wall will result in that car being removed from the race. Each team is allowed six to work on the car and one to service the driver and/or windshield.

The 2017 NASCAR season starts February 24-26 with all three national series — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series competing at Daytona International Raceway.