New for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, a driver that goes to a backup car will have to start at the rear of the field regardless of circumstances.
Current regulations allow a driver to retain his or her starting positions if the driver starts the race in a car that was used during qualifications. In other words, the current protocol only sends drivers to the back if they crash during the practice sessions before time trials.
NASCAR hopes to release the full 2018 Cup Series rule book to teams in October but forwarded the following memo to reporters after notifying teams of the changes.
The updates are:
- Backup vehicles must be unloaded without an engine installed at all races. (This rule was in place in 2017 at Pocono, Watkins Glen and Martinsville.)
- The single engine rule will be enforced at all events, including the Daytona 500.
- Teams must compete in a minimum of 13 races with a short block sealed engine (engine block, crankshaft, camshaft, connecting rods and pistons).
- Teams must compete with a long block sealed engine at The Clash at Daytona and the All-Star Race (all elements included in short block seal, plus cylinder heads and valves).