2023 NASCAR Rule Changes
Like many sports, NASCAR updates its rules and regulations every season to ensure that only the best and most fair policies remain in place for future races. Listed below are all of the main rule changes for the 2023 NASCAR Season.
List of NASCAR Rule Changes for 2023
Here is a list of rule changes for the 2023 NASCAR season:
- No stage cautions at road courses
- Choose rule added at superspeedways and dirt tracks
- Damaged vehicle policy (DVP) clock extended
- Penalty added for encroaching on other stalls when pitting
- Wet weather package requirements changed
- Playoff eligibility revised
- Detached wheel penalty updated
- No Hail Melon rule clarified
Stage cautions will no longer be used in races at road courses. At all other tracks, racing pauses at the end of each stage with a mandatory caution. While stage cautions have improved the quality of racing on ovals, the forced cautions in road course races have only served to slow down the action and discourage strategy. According to the new rule, driver points will still be awarded to the top 10 finishers at the end of each stage, but racing will continue uninterrupted.
The choose rule will now be used at superspeedways and dirt tracks. This means that the only tracks not using the choose rule are road courses. The choose rule allows drivers to take turns choosing their lane on restarts, mixing the field, and adding elements of strategy. Arguably, this should improve the level of competition at these tracks, especially around restarts.
Damaged Vehicle Policy (DVP)
The damaged vehicle policy (DVP) clock has been extended to seven minutes. Previously set at six minutes, the DVP clock starts when a damaged vehicle enters pit road. If the pit crew cannot make the necessary repairs and get the car back on track within the allotted time, the driver must withdraw from the race. The additional minute is intended to allow crews to change a toe link and continue racing in the event that one breaks.
Stall Encroaching Penalty
Cars that encroach on other stalls when making a pit stop may be assessed a penalty. Previously, cars were not allowed to pass through more than three consecutive stalls when pitting, so this rule update will require drivers to get into their stalls more quickly and accurately. Pit stalls will also be outlined in orange paint instead of the traditional white to assist officials in enforcing encroachment infractions.
Wet Weather Package
Wet weather tires have been approved for short oval tracks. Previously, rain tires and wet weather packages were only available to be used at road courses. Under the new rules, teams may use wet weather tires at all ovals one mile or less, including Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Martinsville Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, Richmond Raceway, The Milwaukee Mile, and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Windshield wipers will not be required at The Clash at the Coliseum, but they will be mandated for all wet weather package races, starting with the March 12 race at Phoenix Raceway.
Drivers no longer have to reach a certain ranked placement to retain postseason eligibility. Previously, drivers had to place in the top 30 to be eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series. Likewise, drivers had to place in the top 20 to be eligible for NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series. However, drivers will still need to participate in every event in order to keep playoff eligibility (unless a waiver is granted and approved by NASCAR).
Detached Wheel Penalty
Detached wheels will no longer result in a four-race crew chief suspension. If the wheel is lost and contained to pit road, the offending team will receive a pass-through penalty under green-flag conditions. If the wheel is lost during a caution period, the offending team must restart at the tail end of the field. If the wheel breaks free outside of pit road, the offending team will receive a two-lap penalty and a two-race suspension for two crew members. Any suspension incurred by this penalty will be series-specific and not affect other series.
Although no new additions were added to the rulebook, the NASCAR organization clarified that wall riding was an action that went against official safety policies. This clarification was brought on by Ross Chastain’s use of wall riding in 2022 at the Martinsville Speedway. The incident, known as a “Hail Melon” due to Chastain’s past as a melon farmer, was officially deemed unsafe and deserving of a time penalty for its usage in any future seasons.
What are the biggest rule changes for the 2023 NASCAR season?
The biggest changes are the removal of stage cautions from road courses and the use of the choose rule at superspeedways and dirt tracks. Additionally, the damaged vehicle policy clock has been expanded to seven minutes, the wet weather package will be used at short ovals, and the detached wheel penalty was revised.