The Top Five things I’ve learned about NASCAR Penalties

CIA Stock Photo
CIA Stock Photo

Fans are always complaining about penalties. They see no consistency in the rulings and are tired of the secrecy.

However, after much study and thought, I think I’ve finally figured it out. To understand the system, you simply have to understand the masterminds behind NASCAR.

1) It’s okay for drivers to curse on their in-car radio. Fans are encouraged to listen by renting scanners so that they can tune in to their favorite driver.

But don’t let that driver make the mistake of using colorful language on national television during a post race interview. Even NASCAR’s favorite son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn’t get away with that one.

NASCAR is a family sport and families don’t use four letter words.

2) If drivers are really angry, the best place to express it is in the NASCAR hauler. What happens in the hauler stays in the hauler. If the public doesn’t see it, it didn’t happen, including all those secret fines we’re not supposed to know about.

3) Drivers are encouraged to be themselves but don’t knock NASCAR in the process or you might get hit with one of those secret fines. NASCAR is very touchy about protecting its “brand.” Just ask Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman.

4) A little bump between drivers on the cool down lap is allowed. You can get in a retaliatory “Don’t think I’ve forgotten what you did” tap, disguised as a congratulatory tap, as long as you don’t bring it onto pit road.

5) In the spirit of “have at it boys,” it is permissible for drivers to throw helmets and exchange a few blows. Just don’t announce what you’re going to do beforehand by removing your watch. Passion is good, premeditation is frowned upon.

It really boils down to one thing. NASCAR is not to be confused with a democracy. They wrote the rule book and when all else fails, they have one rule that covers everything.

Section 12-1 Actions detrimental to stock car racing. Cross this line and they will issue the appropriate penalty.

What constitutes actions detrimental to stock car racing? That’s for them to know and you to find out.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Angela Campbell
Angela Campbell
A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela (Angie) was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing. Angie is also an award-winning member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Follow her on Twitter @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.


  1. Angie,

    Now your back on the right track, I know that another good story was up your sleeve. I like this one, as your telling it like it is. lol.

    Where’s your LIKE button. lol. Doug


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