NASCAR has wasted very little time addressing an issue that could well have affected the integrity of its sports.
The sport found itself in between a rock and a hard place recently when it handed down massive penalties to a pair of teams.
The first of the penalties went to Hendrick Motorsports, the industry’s most successful and prestigious team. The second, meanwhile, went to Kaulig Racing, which only joined NASCAR’s top series in 2022.
Both penalties were for the same violation and both penalties were the same punishment. Additionally, both teams decided to appeal their penalties.
Hendrick Motorsports won its appeal. Despite the appeals board ruling that the team did violate the rule, it significantly reduced the penalty based on a technicality. Kaulig also won its appeal. However, the appeals board (which consists of three different representatives for each case) did not reduce the penalty to nearly the same degree as it did for Hendrick.
Fans were furious, alleging bias on the part of the appeals board. NASCAR needed to act quickly if it wanted to maintain the integrity of the sports.
And it did.
Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports reports that NASCAR will make major changes to its appeals process in order to avoid a similar situation in the future.
“NASCAR will now require its appeals panel to give a reason when modifying a penalty. And if the appeals panel determines a team committed the violation it is accused of by NASCAR, then the panel cannot completely rescind any category of the penalty — it can only adjust within the range prescribed in the NASCAR rule book,” Pockrass states.
It’s a sensible change for a series stuck between a rock and a hard place. NASCAR needed to keep its independent appeals board in place. But it also needed to remove as much subjectivity as possible from the process.
It appears the new process does just that. And the series’ leadership can finally take a sigh of relief.