What’s Happening?

On Tuesday, NASCAR released a series of rules changes for the 2024 season covering everything from qualifying order to light-up signs on pit road. We’ve compiled this list of all of the rules changes NASCAR released to help you make sense of it all.

  • NASCAR announced a few changes to the all three national series for 2024. Those changes included qualifying, backup cars, and pit road.
  • There are also some safety enhancements made at a couple of race tracks for 2024.
  • Like all rule changes, there are things some fans love and things some fans hate. Some of these changes were viewed as unnecessary by the fans.

Cup Series Qualifying

Perhaps the most controversial change was NASCAR’s change to their Cup Series qualifying procedure. According to a press release, Group A will determine the outside row and Group B will determine the inside row for 11th-40th place. The top-10 will be determined in the second round of qualifying, and it includes the top-5 in each group, which is unchanged last year.

Group qualifying will NOT be at superspeedways. NASCAR will use a metric from the race before to determine who gets into which group, which includes, “15% of a fastest lap time position, 25% of the driver’s final race finish position, 25% of the owner’s final race finish position and 35% of the owner points position”.

NASCAR did not explicitly say why it was implemented. It’s possible they wanted to make group qualifying easier to follow. Previously, how fast a driver went in a group did not determine where a driver started because it was factored in alongside the other group.

Xfinity Series Backup Cars

In a cost-cutting measure, NASCAR is limiting how many backup cars Xfinity Series teams can have. Teams with 1 or 2 cars are allowed one backup car and teams with 3 or more cars are allowed 2 backup cars. Backup cars are not allowed to be wrapped either.

Again, this is primarily to cut costs. This means that instead of every team bringing a backup car for every driver, they can bring fewer cars. With practice time limited in recent years, there are fewer opportunities for drivers to tear up equipment throughout the weekend.

Remote Race Control

NASCAR also announced that they are looking at building a “Remote race control”. Jeff Gluck compared it to war rooms for individual race teams.

NASCAR has the goal to make calls from this remote race control, which is not unprecedented in sports. For example, replay review in other sports includes discussing it with a remote “War Room” that either helps with or makes the call.

Cup Series Pit Road Signs

In primarily an aesthetic change, NASCAR Cup Series teams can have lit-up sign boards on pit road. It’s unclear whether this means pit signs for drivers or the signage on or behind the pit wall.

Either way, this gives sponsors and teams some more creative freedom with how to set up their pit box. However, it may not have a major impact on the competition week-in and week-out.

Xfinity Series/Truck Series Live Pit Stops

Both the Xfinity Series and Truck Series will have live pit stops at all of their races in 2024. Over the past few years, NASCAR had eliminated live pit stops at select Xfinity Series and Truck Series races, primarily standalone events. In 2023, the Truck Series race at Texas in April and the Xfinity Series race at Road America in the summer both did not have live pit stops for example.

A race not having “Live” pit stops means that teams cannot gain or lose spots on pit road during stage breaks. These are gone for 2024, and it means that every race will have the same rules and the same procedures.

Track Safety Enhancements

A couple of NASCAR tracks will make some safety enhancements in 2024. First, Nashville Superspeedway will add a tire barrier to a concrete wall on the inside of turn one.

Ryan Blaney made critical comments of the lack of a SAFER barrier after hitting that wall in 2023.

Jerry Jordan also reported that Watkins Glen would add rumble strips in turn one to “Keep it from being a competitive area”. Turn one at Watkins Glen has a large asphalt run-off area that drivers will often drive into on restarts, but, the run-off bottlenecks into turn two. It seems likely that Watkins Glen is trying to limit or eliminate this from happening.

These will be interesting rule changes to follow during the 2024 season. However, not all of them will be apparent to fans tuning in on weekends. What do you think of the 2024 rules changes?

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