Over the last few weeks, NASCAR has made some landmark decisions on embracing the legalized sports betting industry. First, the sport’s governing body ruled that teams and cars could seek gambling and sports betting sponsorships. This in itself was a big move considering that NASCAR has been losing many longtime sponsorships. A week after that announcement, NASCAR shared its updated sports betting policy, which bans all members, owners, teams, crews, and drivers from participating in sports betting.
After all of that work to embrace sports betting, and hopefully expand the sport’s popularity once again, NASCAR’s latest rule change could potentially hinder this newfound partnership.
This week, NASCAR announced that they were changing up the post-race inspection process, which was initially designed to find cars that have somehow cheated the system intentionally or unintentionally. NASCAR’s top brass felt that there were still too many post-race failures over the last few years. So, in an effort to change the “culture,” NASCAR has decided to make the punishments even more severe.
For starters, if the winning driver fails a post-race inspection, then he or she will be stripped of the win. The driver will also lose the following winning benefits:
Another big change to this process is that the 2nd place driver will become the official winner of the race if he/she ends up passing the post-race inspection.
Last year, Kevin Harvick failed post-race inspections in two of his wins. Under this new policy, Harvick would’ve been stripped of his victories, which would’ve had an impact on the NASCAR playoffs.
NASCAR’s Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O’Donnell made these strong comments in regards to the new process:
“If you are illegal, you don’t win the race. We cannot allow inspection and penalties to continue to be a prolonged storyline. Race vehicles are expected to adhere to the rule book from the opening of the garage to the checkered flag.”
The new changes have already been met with praise from drivers and crew chiefs. Chad Knaus, one of the winningest crew chiefs of all-time, supports the new change as he commented on the old process versus this new one:
“I think we all understand that’s something that needs to be done so we can get the results done, finished and just move on. When you win a race previously in the Cup Series and you had to wait until Tuesday to take your car apart that was the worst thing in the world. You hated winning a race because all you did from the time that you left victory lane was worry about whether or not your car was going to pass inspection for three days. That’s awful.”
At its core, this rule change isn’t designed to affect sports betting at all. Unfortunately, this new process will. NASCAR stated that the post-race inspection would take roughly 90 minutes. That means winning sports bettors will have to wait at least 90 minutes to collect their winnings or find out that they lost their NASCAR wagers. Furthermore, this period of waiting could prevent bettors from placing those winnings on another bet, which hinders online betting sites from potential commissions and winnings.
Rush Street Interactive’s CEO, Mattias Stetz, made the following comments about how this new NACAR post-race process could affect sports betting:
“One of our top priorities as a company is reliable and fast payouts to customers. The longer we have to wait for data, the harder it is for us to serve our customers. So yes, it’s better for NASCAR and all sporting events to be made official in a reasonably fast manner, as long as the accuracy of the judgment is not in question. It makes payout decisions easier and makes our customer experience more enjoyable.”
Sports bettors will get their first opportunity to bet on a NASCAR race with the 2019 Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 17th. The sport’s biggest race of the year will emphasize all of the latest rule changes designed to clean up the culture, improve the fan experience, and embrace the growing sports betting industry.
Currently, Joey Logano (+800), Kevin Harvick (+800), and Brad Keselowski (+900) are the odds-on favorites to win this year’s big race. For the year, Harvick (+550) and Kyle Busch (+550) are the co-betting favorites to win the 2019 NASCAR championship.
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