The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, known as Nascar, has evolved into an enormous industry. The privately-owned company sanctions over 1,500 races a year, though the Monster Energy Cup Series and Xfinity Series are the largest draws for the best driving talent.
The fact that Nascar is a privately-owned company means that individual executives at the corporation's offices can wield enormous influence in the rules and regulations that govern racing. Some of the rules make sense, some clearly don't, and some are just baffling, revealing that sometimes, not much thought goes into their development. Other rules, however, seem to be enforced on a case-by-case basis, often to keep the biggest names and fan favorites in the chase.
Keep scrolling for 15 petty rules Nascar only developed to ensure that lower-profile drivers lose.
15 Don't Go Below Yellow Line (Sometimes)
The yellow line is one of the most infamous Nascar rules that just doesn't seem to be enforced properly. The specific times when it is okay or not okay to go below the yellow line don't seem to match from race to race. Instead, Nascar seems to decide when a certain driver has broken this rule, generally if it affects a last-second overtaking move.
14 No Swearing
It makes sense that Nascar drivers aren't allowed to swear. After all, fans are often listening in before or after the races, and even over the radio during competition. But the fact that drivers can be docked points—as opposed to just receiving a fine, like in just about every other sport on the planet—is just a way for Nascar to penalize drivers when they feel like it.
13 Endless Overtime
Endless overtime in motorsport makes absolutely no sense. The concept that a series of cautions could occur over and over, forcing the drivers to remain in the race for extra time, isn't just silly, it's downright dangerous. First of all, the drivers are already in a high-stress environment for long periods of time. Second of all, their cars need constant attention during the normal course of a race.
12 Five Minute Clock
The five-minute clock was famous for being another absurd rule—so much so that Nascar took it upon themselves to change it. The thing is, all they did was bump it to six minutes. That's still a very brief window to get a car back in a race. Just imagine if a mechanic's shop had to fix every car that came in in only six minutes, the cars would be unsafe on the road afterward.
11 Driver's Briefing
The driver briefing that takes place before each Nascar race is just pure spectacle. There's really no point to require driver attendance, other than to get their faces on TV more. But it would be much more interesting to get more inside looks at their prep in the pits before a race, rather than watch them being bored to death by a recitation of the rules that apply to each and every race they've ever been in.
10 No Contact (Sometimes)
The regulation banning contact between Nascar race cars simply fails to be enforced on a regular basis. This is akin to pass interference in the NFL; sometimes the ref's discretion is simply wrong (just ask the New Orleans Saints). It seems like a bit of contact in Nascar is okay most of the time, a lot is okay some of the time, and then occasionally, the lightest of taps is a huge deal.
9 Stage Racing
When stage racing began in Nascar, the purpose was to allow drivers to collect more points without actually winning the race. But why not just change how the points are doled out at the end of a race, rather than implementing random markers that don't signify anything special. Just look at all the various decisions above; who thought lap 267 was a crucial point in the competition?
8 "Arm's Length" Tire Changes
The general rule that during a pit stop, the pit crew must keep all the tires within arm's length clearly makes no sense. If this one was rigidly enforced, every pit crew would hire former basketball players for their long arms. But crouching next to a low race car is easier for shorter people, who have shorter arms. Just say three feet or four feet, rather than arm's length!
7 Lowering Power Levels (Tapered Engine Spacers)
One of the controversial changes that Nascar made to their regulations for the 2019 season was the use of tapered engine spacers to help reduce power output. The move came along with differences in allowed aerodynamics packages, all with the expressed goal of making races more competitive. But many drivers have complained that this reduces the skill required to win. This is motorsport, let them go fast!
6 Slower Only at 17 of 36 Races
Nascar clearly couldn't make up their minds for the 2019 season, as evidenced by the fact that the lower engine output rule will only apply to 17 out of 36 races. This arbitrary designation reveals that there must have been some serious arguments during the development of this rule, since the majority of races won't use it.
5 More Aerodynamics - So, Faster?
A third detail about the lower engine output rule was the hand-in-hand improvement to overall aerodynamics packages allowed on Nascar race cars. The thinking seems to be that with better aero bits, drivers won't need as much power to go fast. But on 19 of 36 races, they'll be allowed more power with the aero packages, as well, so they'll be going faster.
4 No Blocking
The rule banning blocking in Nascar is another one that seems to be enforced on a willy-nilly basis. And the rule doesn't even make sense in the first place! Why not let the drivers attempt to stop people from passing them? The increase in tactics and skill greatly offsets any potential danger. And that's not to mention that they do it anyway, the only surprise is when this one is actually enforced.
3 Substitute Driver
The fact that Nascar has allowed a substitute driver is just pure silliness. All the rules that regulate the cars to make them as similar as possible are in place to highlight the differing ability levels between the people behind the steering wheel. Allowing a substitute driver just completely removes all the sense from all the other rules, as well.
When Nascar allowed Kyle Busch to compete in the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup by using a waiver, the entire rest of the field was completely baffled. Busch had missed 11 races that season because of an injury and the rules clearly stated that a driver had to compete in each event to qualify. And yet, clearly, someone at Nascar thought this was a good time for an exception to be made.
1 The Playoffs
All the points from races and stage races all lead to the Nascar playoffs. But given that Nascar clearly just wants the biggest names to attract all the biggest sponsors and higher ratings numbers, the playoffs are clearly little more than a few more days for Nascar executives to line their pockets. Acting like the rules are in place to level the playing field is simply naive.
Sources: Nascar, Wikipedia, and ESPN.