There are several changes in place for the 2018 NASCAR season.
While NASCAR did not make any significant modifications to race formats, procedures or rules packages there are still a number of modifications in place for the coming year.
Pit Crew Limitations
Teams will now be allowed just five crew members over the wall during pit stop service down from the previous number of six. The fuel person will not be able to do anything else leaving the remaining four crew members to change tires, jack the car and whatever other service is necessary. Each team must also submit a personnel roster every race weekend.
The new "Hawkeye System" as it is currently known debuts in 2018. The advanced technology allows the cars to be scrutinized in more detail while also streamlining the inspection process. Eight projectors and 17 cameras, including one beneath the car are part of the process which can be completed in 30 seconds.
After two years of significant rules changes to take away downforce, NASCAR announced minimal modifications to Cup Series cars in 2018. The biggest changes for are a common flat splitter and radiator/oil cooler for all races. The radiator/oil cooler for 2018 already is used on superspeedways. The ride-height rule has been eliminated for superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega.
Another modification to pit road rules involves the damage clock, which was set at five minutes last season. It has been increased to six and should an additional crew member come over the wall that infraction is now a two-lap penalty. Last year it was an automatic disqualification, a procedure that officially eliminated Matt Kenseth from the playoffs after he was involved in an accident at Kansas Speedway.
Pit Box Work
All work must be conducted inside the pit box, a reaffirmation of a policy that created some controversy last year. Jimmie Johnson pulled out of his pit stall in the Charlotte playoff race with a loose lug nut and a crew member tightened it with the No. 48 car not completely inside the stall. NASCAR did not issue a penalty calling the situation a safety issue. This year a penalty will be assessed should any work happen outside the box.
NASCAR has shortened the first round of qualifying at intermediate and short tracks to 15 minutes from 20 minutes. This will create less down time with the intention to increase the amount of on track activity for teams.