NASCAR clarifies rule on drivers remaining in cars after a wreck

Drivers are required to remain in their wrecked cars until safety workers or NASCAR officials arrive on the scene.

John Harrelson

In the wake of the tragic sprint car accident involving Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. in 2014, NASCAR took a proactive approach to ensure drivers remain in their cars after a wreck.

The rule, introduced in August 2014, stated that once involved in an accident, if drivers are unable to drive away, they are required to drop the window net and remain in the car until track officials arrive on the scene. The exception to this rule was in the case of fire or smoke in the cockpit. 

On Thursday, NASCAR officially entered the procedure into the rule book.

According to Section 10.4.2.1 of the NASCAR rule book, drivers involved in wrecks who are uninjured and do not have fire or smoke in the cockpit are instructed to shut off electrical power and lower their window net.

In addition, they are not to loosen, disconnect or remove any safety equipment until directed by safety workers or a NASCAR official. Once instructed by safety workers or NASCAR officials, the driver is to go directly to the safety vehicle or ambulance and at no time approach the racing surface or another vehicle. 

Drivers not involved in the incident are required to adhere to normal caution procedures and should not weave or stray from the line toward the site of the wreck.

This comes on the heels of Sunday’s incident in Daytona 500 qualifying, when Clint Bowyer climbed from his wrecked car and confronted Reed Sorenson, who was still sitting in his own wrecked car.