NASCAR adds new rule on exiting cars after crashes

Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood, left, speaks during a news conference as crew chief Greg Zipadelli looks on at right at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/The Jackson Citizen Patriot, Brian Smith)
Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood, left, speaks during a news conference as crew chief Greg Zipadelli looks on at right at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/The Jackson Citizen Patriot, Brian Smith)

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — NASCAR added a rule Friday ordering drivers to not approach the track or moving cars after accidents. The announcement comes less than a week after a driver was struck and killed during a dirt-track race in New York.

In this Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 photograph, Tony Stewart stands in the garage area after a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, in Watkins Glen N.Y.
(Tony Stewart)

If a car is involved in an accident and can no longer keep going — and no extenuating circumstances exist such as smoke in the cockpit or fire — the driver should not loosen any personal safety equipment until directed to do so by safety personnel or a NASCAR or track official.

After being told to exit the car, the driver should proceed to an emergency vehicle or as otherwise directed.

“Really, we’re formalizing rules that have been there,” Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition and racing development, said at Michigan International Speedway. “It’s reminders that take place during drivers meetings with drivers about on-track accidents. We’re just formalizing this and it’s something that we worked on this week.”

The rule takes effect immediately and applies to all of NASCAR’s series. Violations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

This July 5, 2014 photo provided by Empire Super Sprints, Inc., shows sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr., in the victory lane with his car at the Fulton Speedway in Fulton, N.Y.
(Kevin Ward Jr., in the victory lane with his car at the Fulton Speedway in Fulton, N.Y. on July 5, 2014)

NASCAR star Tony Stewart is skipping this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. Last Saturday, Stewart’s car hit and killed Kevin Ward Jr. at a sprint car event in Canandaigua, New York. After Stewart appeared to clip Ward’s car, sending it spinning, Ward left the car during the caution period, walked down the track and was hit by Stewart.

“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.”

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