NASCAR Formalizes Safety Rules

In the wake of last weekend’s tragedy at Canandaigua Speedway in upstate New York when Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward Jr was killed, NASCAR has announced that it will be adding a new rule to improve safety at its tracks.  The rule, listed as Section 9-16, will apply to all NASCAR racing series effective immediately.

Section 9-16 On-Track Incident Procedure

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.

Basically, it formalizes what’s been a set of unspoken rule at many tracks: If you’re in an accident, don’t get out of the car unless you’re in immediate danger (like being on fire).  Do not go out onto the track.  Drivers should use extreme caution near the scene of an incident (i.e. slow down, follow safety personnel instructions).

While there has yet to be any official series wide rule announced from the major dirt track series, individual tracks are issuing similar rules with an eye to enforcement.

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