It was just August 9 when NASCAR champion Tony Stewart ran over sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr. in a dirt track race in upstate New York. As a result, NASCAR has implemented new rules to help prevent such a tragedy ever happening with the professional circuit.
Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the rule was distributed to teams before Sprint Cup practice Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway.
During a caution period, if a driver’s car is involved in an incident and stopped on or near the racing surface and unable to make forward progress, the driver must:
–Shut off the car and lower the window net if uninjured;
–Wait for directions from safety personnel or NASCAR officials to loosen safety equipment
–After being directed to exit the car, proceed directly to the ambulance or other vehicle as directed, without approaching the racing surface or another vehicle.
This is most certainly a step in the right direction, but I’m a little baffled as to why it took such a tragedy to begin discussion on such rules. Wouldn’t you want your drivers to stay off the track while cars are whizzing by at 100 mph? It should also be noted that other dirt-track racing circuits across the country are reportedly adopting similar guidelines.
Tony Stewart is sitting out this weekend’s Sprint Cup race, just as he did last week. There is no timetable set for his return.
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