NASCAR Formalizes Safety Rule

Danica Patrick

Part of the new rule states at no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface or apron. (Photo: Getty Images)


BROOKLYN, Mich. - NASCAR announced a new rule that will mandate drivers remain with their disabled vehicles in the event of an on-track incident.

Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development, announed the new mandate during a press conference Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway.

"Really we're formalizing rules that have been there," Pemberton said. "It's reminders that take place during drivers meetings with drivers about on track incidents. We're just formalizing this and it's something that we worked on this week."

Pemberton outlined a series of procedures that must be followed that were added to section 9-16 (On-Track Incident Procedures) in the NASCAR Rule Book:

During an Event, if a racecar is involved in an on-track incident and/or is stopped on or near the racing surface and unable to continue to make forward progress, unless extenuating emergency conditions exist with the racecar (i.e. fire, smoke in cockpit, etc.) the driver should take the following steps:

• Shut off electrical power and, if driver is uninjured, lower window net
• Do not loosen, disconnect or remove any driver personal safety equipment until directed to do so by safety personnel or a NASCAR/Track Official
• After being directed to exit the racecar, the driver should proceed to either the ambulance, other vehicle, or as otherwise directed by safety personnel or a NASCAR/Track Official
• At no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface or apron
• At no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach another moving vehicle

The announcement comes on the heels of last week's accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. when he was struck by Tony Stewart's car during a caution flag while competing in a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

"Through time you have to recognize when you get a reminder or tap on the shoulder, something that may need to be addressed," Pemberton said. "This is one of those times where we look outside our sport and we look at other things, and we feel like it was time to address this.

"As we've demonstrated in our history, we're willing to react quickly to different incidents. It's not just about NASCAR, but it's all of sports and motorsports that we take note in."

Penalties could vary depending on the situation if a driver does not follow the procedure.

“This will be a behavioral type thing and they'll be addressed according to each situation,” Pemberton said.

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