Friday, August 15, 2014

NASCAR Announces New Safety Rule

In the aftermath of last Saturday’s incident that claimed the life of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward, Jr., NASCAR announced today that it has added a new rule addressing on-track incidents as part of its race procedures. The rule, listed as Section 9-16, will be an addendum to the NASCAR rule book and will apply to all of its racing series, effective immediately.  
Section 9-16 On-Track Incident ProcedureDuring 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. 
NASCAR vice president of competition and racing development Robin Pemberton called the rule “part of the evolution of NASCAR’s rules and regulations. 
“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,” said Pemberton.  “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.” 

As with other behavioral infractions, NASCAR will handle each instance separately when assessing potential penalties.


  1. Maybe it's just my reaction to legislating common sense, but this new rule seems totally unnecessary. I have listened to NASCAR radio all day today and still have not heard any relevant analogy to any rule we currently have, or rules in other sports for that matter. While I know we do not live in the land of "if" and the Godfather is not particularly fond of those type of scenarios, I truly wonder if we would have seen any of this had the same horribly tragic incident involving Kevin Ward, Jr. been as a result of an encounter with another local driver, as opposed to a Sprint Cup driver, particularly one of iconic status.

  2. NASCAR's made safety decisions based on events in other series in the past, so it's not an unset precedent that they've done the same with this new rule formalizing what's been discussed with drivers for years.

    One example would be the accident in an ARCA practice session in 2002. No NASCAR "super stars" were involved in the accident, but after that NASCAR made it mandatory that spotters be on the spotter stand everytime cars are on the race track.

    I think it's a step in the right direction that this rule's become a formal deal in the rule book.