As a result of the tragic incident Saturday night in New York state that led to the death of dirt track driver Kevin Ward Jr., NASCAR has instituted a rule requiring drivers to remain in their cars following on-track incidents until track or NASCAR personnel arrives on the scene.
Speaking Friday in Michigan, NASCAR Vice President of Competition and Racing Development Robin Pemberton outlined the new regulation aimed at avoiding on-track altercations following accidents.
"As we have demonstrated in our history that we are willing to react quickly to different incidents...this morning we are formalizing one of...our at-track regulations," Pemberton said.
Essentially, the rule states that if a driver is involved in an accident and unable to move his or her car forward, he or she must remain in the vehicle until officials arrive. The driver is allowed to exit the car immediately, however, if he or she is in danger.
Below is the full text of the rule.
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
All vehicles not involved in the incident or that are able to continue afterwards should slow down to a cautious speed as outlined in Section 10-4 (Yellow Flag), use extreme care as they approach an incident scene, and follow any directions given by safety personnel or NASCAR/Track Officials. Cars in line behind the safety car should not weave or otherwise stray from the line in the vicinity of the incident.
Pemberton didn't speak directly to the incident involving NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and Ward Jr., but he did say NASCAR evaluates incidents across all forms of racing to help improve the safety of its drivers.
"Throughout the history of our sport, NASCAR has reviewed and analyzed situations and occurrences that take place not just in NASCAR racing but also throughout all motorsports and other sports," Pemberton said. "When we believe we can do something to make our sport safer and better for the competitors and others involved in the competition environment, we react quickly. Safety always has been priority number one at NASCAR."
Stewart announced Thursday that he will not race this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. He has not raced since the incident at the New York dirt track last Saturday.