In early 2008, Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost a spoiler. It didn't blow off-it was confiscated by NASCAR officials for being illegally altered [source: Spencer]. At the same time, officials snatched David Reutimann's carburetor because of an illegal boost that could up his horsepower [source: Jenkins]. From fuel additives to a mid-race release of buckshot to lighten a car, any alteration you can imagine has a penalty to match, from a simple black flag, to confiscation fines and even suspensions.
In NASCAR, the ruling body is the National Stock Car Racing Commission. For local races, racers can be penalized with something as simple as the black flag or as severe as being asked to park the offending car, surrender points and sit out for the season. In June 2008, the Commission doled out probations, suspensions and fines of $100,000 to the HAAS CNC Racing team for "improper mounting" techniques [source: NASCAR]. With a plethora of penalties and fines, drivers and crews have to understand many rules.
When points are lost and fines are levied, teams might feel the pinch in the wallet, but the real price comes in the loss of points. And when everyone from the owner to the driver and the crew and car chiefs in between can be penalized, racing really is a family affair [source: Finney].
Specific rules are updated every year in August but it's in section 12-4-A of the rules, the catchall "actions detrimental to the sport of racing" where most infractions occur [sources: Borden, Demmons]. This section has covered just a few of the penalties that can be levied -- with more than 100 pages in the rulebook, there are quite a few more.
For additional information on stock car racing, visit the links on the next page.