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NASCAR drivers banned from approaching cars on track

 Pallbearers help to carry the casket of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. at South Lewis Senior High School on August 14, 2014 in Turin, New York.
Pallbearers help to carry the casket of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. at South Lewis Senior High School on August 14, 2014 in Turin, New York.
Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

The tragic death of 20-year old race car driver six days ago has prompted NASCAR to instigate new safety rules prohibiting drivers from approaching the track or moving cars following an accident.
In addition, if they are not able to continue racing, they are not to remove safety equipment or exit the vehicles unless there is fire or smoke in the cockpit, etc. until directed to do so by a track official, NASCAR or other safety personnel. They should, however, immediately shut off all electrical power, and (if unhurt) lower the window net.Once they are cleared to leave the car, drivers are then directed to head to either an ambulance or other vehicle okayed by any of the above officials.

The rule book also states that “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.”

Ward was killed one week ago today when he was hit by Tony Stewart’s car during a dirt race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York. The incident occurred just after Stewart had apparently clipped Ward, causing him to spin out. The younger driver then got out of his car (unhurt) during the caution period and approached his rival on foot when he was struck. His funeral was held Thursday. In the meantime, investigators are still evaluating all the facts, and while Stewart has not yet been charged, there is still the possibility he could face criminal charges.

“Through time you have to recognize when you get a reminder or tap on the shoulder, something that may need to be addressed. This is one of those times where we look inside out sport and we look at other things,” stated NASCAR’s vice president of competition and racing development Robin Pemberton, who added that the new rules are for all NASCAR series.