Skip to content

NASCAR announces new rules to keep drivers in cars under cautions

Aug 15, 2014, 9:41 AM EST

Following the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy almost one week ago in New York State, NASCAR has announced immediate new rules for drivers that are involved in on-track incidents.

The new rule is listed as Section 9-16: On-Track Incident Procedure in the 2014 NASCAR rule book. It reads:

During an Event, if a race car 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 race car (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.

In a press conference today at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the new rules were a formalization of reminders that have been made in pre-race driver’s meetings.

He also acknowledged the role of the Stewart/Ward incident in the sanctioning body’s decision.

On Saturday night at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, Ward had an on-track tangle with Stewart that ended with him spinning out. The 20-year-old then exited the car and walked down the racing surface to apparently confront the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

Unfortunately, Stewart’s car ended up clipping Ward, who was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Ward was laid to rest on Thursday, and a short time later that day, Stewart Haas Racing announced that Stewart would not compete in this weekend’s Sprint Cup event at MIS.

“Through time, you have to recognize when you get a reminder or a tap on the shoulder – something that may need to be addressed,” Pemberton said today. “And 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.

“…It was one of those [things] that was obviously – everybody paid attention to – and it is on the heels of that.”

As for enforcement of the new rule, Pemberton said that it would be considered a “behavioral penalty” and that NASCAR would address each instance “according to each individual situation.”

NASCAR’s decision comes after multiple local tracks across the country changed their own caution procedures in the aftermath of the Stewart/Ward incident, including: Fulton and Brewerton Speedways in New York, Tri-City Speedway in Illinois, and Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway in Tennessee.

Latest Posts
  1. Watch NASCAR America LIVE 5 pm ET: Wildest, most unpredictable moments of 2014

    Nov 20, 2014, 3:09 PM EST

    nascar america

    If you like wild, crazy and unpredictable, you won’t want to miss Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, airing LIVE at 5 pm ET on NBCSN.

  2. NASCAR Minute: Most unexpected event in 2014?

    Nov 20, 2014, 2:31 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Matthew Bishop) AP

    In this edition of NASCAR Minute, Rick Allen and Kyle Petty talk about the wackiest things they saw this race season.

  3. Alonso: My next move won’t be a surprise for anybody

    Nov 20, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Fernando Alonso AP

    After his departure from Ferrari was announced today, Alonso drops the biggest hint yet that he will be driving for McLaren in 2015.

  4. Without Chase format, Jeff Gordon would have won championship, not Kevin Harvick

    Nov 20, 2014, 2:21 PM EST

    If the championship would have been determined strictly on points earned in 2014, Jeff Gordon would have beaten Joey Logano and actual champ Kevin Harvick this season. (AP Photo/Terrry Renna) AP

    What would the final 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings look like if there had been no Chase format? Would Kevin Harvick still have finished No. 1? You might be surprised.

  5. Danica Patrick’s 2015 paint scheme revealed, featuring GoDaddy colors

    Nov 20, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

    New paint scheme for Danica Patrick’s No. 10 in 2015.

  6. Will the weight of expectation prove to be too great for Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi?

    Nov 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg AP

    Gunning for his second world championship, Hamilton can be sure of the title by finishing second in Abu Dhabi – but will the pressure get to him?

  7. Stevens’ initial outing a rarity in modern F1: an in-year debut

    Nov 20, 2014, 11:35 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Practice Getty Images

    How will Will Stevens’ debut go? He’s in a rare spot, making an in-season debut.

  8. Alonso changes helmet, Williams alters livery, other minor changes for Abu Dhabi GP

    Nov 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    © Williams Racing © Williams Racing

    A few little things to look out for during this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi.

  9. NASCAR: Kahne extension shouldn’t alter Chase Elliott’s future timeline

    Nov 20, 2014, 10:45 AM EST

    DAV 200 - Honoring America's Veterans Getty Images

    Kasey Kahne’s arrival shouldn’t change the arrival of Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports, but it may change the date.

  10. Gutierrez targeting F1 reserve role at a top team in 2015

    Nov 20, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    Esteban Gutierrez AP

    Mexican driver admits trying to take a step down out of a race seat for 2015 is a risk, but feels it is the best move for his future.

  11. Matthew Brabham to make Formula E race debut with Andretti

    Nov 20, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Milwaukee IndyFest - Day 1 Getty Images

    Matthew Brabham replaces Charles Pic in FE this weekend.

  12. With Vettel, Alonso, Mercedes and Renault all on the move, Abu Dhabi will mark the end of an era in F1

    Nov 20, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Previews Getty Images

    Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus will be very different teams in 2015.

  13. Kasey Kahne signs Hendrick extension through 2018

    Nov 20, 2014, 9:50 AM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Kasey Kahne re-ups with Hendrick for three more years.

  14. Perez hoping for Force India confirmation soon

    Nov 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

    Mexican driver all but certain to stay with Force India for 2015, with the finer details of his contract being ironed.

  15. Ocon and Fong set to take part in Abu Dhabi GP practice

    Nov 20, 2014, 8:30 AM EST

    © Lotus F1 Team © Lotus F1 Team

    FIA F3 champion Ocon will run for Lotus in FP1 on Friday at Yas Marina; Fong will take part for Sauber.

  16. MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Abu Dhabi GP

    Nov 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Previews Getty Images

    The MST writing team makes its final predictions of the 2014 F1 season – will it be Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg who is crowned champion in Abu Dhabi?

  17. 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

    Nov 20, 2014, 7:30 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Previews Getty Images

    It’s the showdown at sundown – will Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg be crowned Formula 1 world champion on Sunday in Abu Dhabi?

  18. Will Stevens to make F1 debut for Caterham in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 20, 2014, 7:05 AM EST

    © Caterham F1 Team © Caterham F1 Team

    British driver to race alongside Kamui Kobayashi for the revived Caterham team.

  19. Sebastian Vettel joins Ferrari for 2015 season, partnering Kimi Raikkonen

    Nov 20, 2014, 5:26 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of USA Getty Images

    Four-time world champion joins Ferrari on a three-year deal.

  20. Ferrari confirms Alonso will leave at end of 2014 F1 season

    Nov 20, 2014, 5:16 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Previews Getty Images

    As expected, Fernando Alonso will leave Ferrari after five years at the end of the season.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Harvick (2082)
  2. R. Newman (1826)
  3. J. Gordon (1816)
  4. J. Logano (1658)
  5. J. Johnson (1584)
  1. D. Hamlin (1576)
  2. M. Kenseth (1558)
  3. B. Keselowski (1405)
  4. K. Larson (1326)
  5. C. Bowyer (1128)