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Blog: New rule may curb fighting

HAMPTON, Ga. -- A new NASCAR postrace procedure for Sprint Cup teams could limit the possibility of a big postrace brawl breaking out, as one did at Texas Motor Speedway last November.

NASCAR officials confirmed Saturday they will stop all cars on pit road following a race because NASCAR must collect the tapered spacer used to limit air flow through the engine. That piece is issued to teams on a weekly basis so that teams cannot alter it.

With just a couple of crew members needed to remove the spacer, NASCAR has issued an edict that only two crew members per car will be allowed at each Cup car immediately after the race. That will keep pit road from getting too cluttered, officials say.

With only two crew members at each car after a Cup race, that will limit the number of crew members from each team in a contained area. In the past, several crew members would surround the top-5 cars on pit road and the crews would surround the rest when they parked at their haulers postrace.

After the Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski crews fought with the drivers last year, there was talk that NASCAR should try to limit the number of crewmen who could be around the cars after a race.

The tapered spacer now gives NASCAR a reason to do so. The procedure typically has been in place for restrictor-plate tracks (although teams often stopped in the garage) -- and was used last week -- because NASCAR officials had to obtain the restrictor plates after a race.

Even at Daytona, the procedure seemed to keep the Kevin Harvick-Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin-Danica Patrick dustups a little less volatile.

What remains to be seen is if this really does prevent brawls. Rest assured, if two drivers get out of their cars and really start jawing -- or worse, punching -- it very well could become NASCAR's version of a benches-clearing brawl, with crew members running down pit road to get a piece of the action.