NASCAR clarifies behavior penalties

NASCAR clarified its rules for driver and team member behavior on Friday, spelling out exactly what penalties are in play for rules infractions by drivers or any other members of their teams.

“NASCAR membership is a privilege. With that privilege comes certain benefits, responsibilities and obligations," the rule states. Behavior on and off the track will be taken into consideration.

NASCAR officials said the update and clarifications weren’t prompted by a specific incident, but had been in the works for a long time.

However, a flurry of controversial incidents in 2013 and 2014 could have prompted some of the clarifications, including a huge brawl after a confrontation between Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski at Texas, a fight between Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski at Charlotte, and an incident at Richmond where Michael Waltrip Racing was fined for manipulating a race outcome.

The update stated members are expected to police their own behavior, attempt to resolve disputes and act as role models representing the sport. The nature of stock car racing involves hard and sometimes aggressive racing while contesting positions, the rule stated. Such incidents wouldn’t normally result in further action by NASCAR. In considering the potential discipline, NASCAR stated, a variety of factors might be used including a member’s past history, possible effects to fans and safety workers, and whether the explanation was plausible.

Among the new rules are the following:

* Actions that could result in a mild response such as a warning or a probation include heat of the moment actions or reactions, or confrontations without physical violence, such as shouting.

* Actions that could result in fines of $10,000 to $50,000 include disparaging the sport or its leadership, abusing officials, fans or members of the media and intentionally damaging another vehicle under yellow or red flag, or on pit road with no on around.

* Physical confrontations with NASCAR officials, media members or fans would draw hefty fines, loss of points and possible suspension or termination. Also in that category would be member-to-member confrontations with physical violence, attempting to manipulate the outcome of the race or championship, and intentionally wrecking another vehicle.

* Targeting another driver who is in a vulnerable position or deliberately removing another competitor from championship contention in a dangerous manner could result in the loss of 50-100 driver and team owner points, fines of $150,000 to $200,000 and or a two-race suspension, indefinite suspension or termination.

* Being charged with or convicted of significant criminal violations could result in fines, suspension and termination. Those penalties also could be leveled for public statements or communications that criticize or ridicule others based on race, color, sexual orientation, marital status, age or religion. Daytona Beach News Journal

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