By Matteo Marcheschi

The offseason is quickly approaching, and, as every NASCAR fan knows, that means it’s time for rules changes! Here are three changes NASCAR should make for 2018.

Streamline the inspection process and increase penalties

NASCAR’s inspection process is downright ridiculous, and its penalties are trivial at best. Making Joey Logano sit on pit road for the entirety of a nearly hour-long practice session put me over the edge with all that. NASCAR needs to decide whether or not to go after teams for rules violations, and needs to scale back inspection before practice and qualifying and amp up penalties for violations found pre and post-race.

Make cars less aero-dependent by lessening side force

Taking away downforce on the front and back of the cars hasn’t worked as well to improve racing as many thought it would. Side-by-side racing is a massive challenge because drivers lose the handle on their cars as the car they race takes air off the side of theirs, creating a sudden loose condition. This means that passing is much more difficult, so less of it occurs. Taking away side force may be the answer, because then less handling is lost when two cars get side-by-side. Aero-dependency needs to become a thing of the past, and fast.

Introduce automatic pit road speed limiters

Gone are the days where drivers zip down pit road as fast as they can, pushing it to the very edge and stopping at the last second possible, putting every pit crew member in immense danger. Now drivers look at their tachometer lights, which are calibrated to light at certain speeds, in lieu of a speedometer. NASCAR measures pit road speeds to ridiculously tiny margins, and a infinitesimal error on the driver’s part can ruin a driver’s day. If the calibration of their lights is off a little, it can lead to multiple speeding penalties. There’s no point to having drivers manually control their speed on pit road any more, it only leads to issues, and penalties for speeding hardly seem necessary: It’s been a long time since a driver’s gotten an advantage by going a little faster on pit road (disregarding the pit crew’s work, of course). Pit road speed limiters, used in many other motorsports, would simplify the pit road process and keep pit road safer by lessening incidents where drivers have hit pit crew members after overshooting their pit boxes. While it’s not traditional for NASCAR to use technology in this fashion, it needs to consider pit road speed limiters.