NASCAR’s Rule Change Will Create Delay in Betting Payouts

NASCAR’s Rule Change Will Create Delay in Betting Payouts

NASCAR’s decision to revise a longstanding policy on how it inspects race-winning cars could potentially alter the official finishing order well after a race has concluded, thus creating a delay for those who bet on NASCAR to collect their winnings.

NASCAR announced several procedural changes on Monday, the most significant is how the sanctioning body will conduct post-race technical inspection and what will happen should a race-winning car fail to pass.

In the event the car that won the race is determined to violate NASCAR’s rules, officials will strip the driver of the win and award the second-place driver the victory -- provided their car also passes inspection. Every driver would then move up one position, with the disqualified driver dropping to the bottom of the order.

The new inspection process will take roughly 90 minutes, perhaps longer, according to NASCAR.

The change and the distinct possibility that the driver who first crossed the finish line may not be declared the official winner creates a dilemma for sportsbooks, which will now have to upwards of 90 minutes before knowing the official winner and race results. Under the previous policy, betters could collect immediately upon a race’s completion.

"Regardless how long it takes NASCAR to make results official, the state’s risk manager will delay any payout until NASCAR releases the official order of finish,” said Vernon Kirk, director of the Delaware Lottery that oversees sports betting in Delaware. “Our Casinos will receive an email reminding them of the new procedures the week of Daytona. No additional hassles are anticipated due to this new policy."

Dover International Speedway hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually and had betting windows on the grounds in 2018.

A Dramatic Change for NASCAR

The shift in how NASCAR deals with rule breakers is a dramatic departure from how the sanctioning body previously handled post-race inspection and any winning cars found to be illegal.

Historically, NASCAR was reluctant to take away a win from a driver even if their car failed inspection -- either at the track or during a more thorough inspection at NASCAR’s R&D Center in North Carolina where all winning cars were brought back to after a race.

Instead, NASCAR as a deterrent chose to level penalties consisting of monetary fines, point deductions and suspending crewmembers, though actual impact varied depending on the driver/team and other circumstances.

The idea behind the old policy was that fans deserved to immediately know who won and an outcome shouldn’t be changed unless an egregious rules violation was committed. But even in instances when a blatant infraction occurred, NASCAR was often reluctant to disqualify a winning driver and team.

The Potential Impact

NASCAR’s new policy would’ve twice altered the outcome of a race during the 2018 season, each time involving Kevin Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team. in a press release and at Texas in the Cup Series playoffs, his No. 4 car failed post-race inspection.

In both instances Harvick was issued significant penalties yet still allowed to keep the win. And in the situation where Harvick was penalized following his Texas win, runner-up Ryan Blaney’s car also failed inspection.

“If you are illegal, you don’t win the race,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, via the Associated Press. “We cannot allow inspection and penalties to continue to be a prolonged storyline. Race vehicles are expected to adhere to the rule book from the opening of the garage to the checkered flag.

“We’re really looking at a total culture change.”

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