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In the wake of Richmond, NASCAR tells drivers: Race 100% all the time

No more free points, intentional spins or favors on the track of any kind. That was the ruling handed down by NASCAR on Saturday, one week after a controversial finish in Richmond.

NASCAR sent teams a new competition bulletin that includeds a new rule, the crux of which instructing teams to race all out, all the time.

Rule 12-4L reads, "NASCAR requires its competitors to race at 100 percent of their ability with the goal of achieving their best possible finishing position in an event.  Any competitor who takes action with the intent to artificially alter the finishing positions of the event or encourages, persuades or induces others to artificially alter the finishing position of the event shall be subject to a penalty from NASCAR.  Such penalties may include but are limited to disqualification and/or loss of finishing points and/or fines and/or loss of points and/or suspension and/or probation to any and all members of the teams, including any beneficiaries of the prohibited actions.

"Artificially altered' shall be defined as actions by any competitor that show or suggest that the competitor did not race at 100 percent of their ability for the purpose of changing finishing positions in the event at NASCAR's sole discretion."

"We addressed team rules, and as I said, a variety of other things, all designed to do what our fans expect, and that means that they're driver and their team give 100 percent to finish as high up in a given race as possible," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

The change urges drivers to to drive to the their ablity and NASCAR acknowlages that ability is different from team to team and that a teams ability to race hard can change through the course of a race.

NASCAR President Mike Helton gave teams and the media a list of actions that are no longer acceptable. They include: Offering a position in exchange for favor or material benefit; offering material benefit in exchange for track position; directing a driver to give up a position to the benefit of another driver; intentionally causing a caution; causing a caution for the benefit of or determinant of another driver; intentionally wrecking a competitor; intentionally pitting, pulling into the garage to gain advantage for another competitor.

Helton stressed this is just a starting point and not an inclusive list.

"This list is examples and doesn't mean that if it's not on this list it's okay if it's under the unacceptable, and there could very well be some things that we define going forward on the acceptable list," said Helton.

In addition, teams will only be allowed one spotter per spotters stand at races and the use of digital radios by spoters is no longer allowed. NASCAR will also be installing cameras to watch the spotters.

France said he believes most of the drivers are happy with the changes.

"I didn't talk to any of them afterwards, but I could see as we were walking through, this is what they want," said France. "They want to have clarity and they don't like team rules, and they don't like some of the things that have gone on in the past, and so my sense of it is that they were -- they're never pleased when we call them to a meeting."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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