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NASCAR bars drivers from exiting cars after wrecks

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm •  Published: August 15, 2014
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It remains to be seen how NASCAR will enforce its provision, and how much the threat of penalties will deter drivers in the heat of the moment.

"There's still going to be confrontations out there and that's never going to change. People will still get mad at each other," Joey Logano said. "You've got to keep the big picture of staying safe out there and somehow controlling your emotions."

Last Saturday, Stewart's car struck Ward during a sprint car race in Canandaigua, New York. After Stewart's car appeared to clip Ward's car, sending it spinning, Ward left the car during the caution period, walked down the track and was hit by Stewart. His funeral was Thursday.

Stewart, who could face criminal charges, is skipping this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. He did not race last week at Watkins Glen, a few hours after Ward was killed.

Stewart once threw his helmet at Matt Kenseth's car. In 2003, Kevin Harvick climbed on the roof of his car to shout at Ricky Rudd, who had nudged him from behind late in a race. The 1979 Daytona 500 is remembered for a last-lap crash between Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough as they raced for the lead. The crash led to a three-man fight after Allison's brother, Bobby, pulled up to the accident scene.

An occasional shouting match or obscene gesture may seem like a harmless frivolity, but Ward's death underscored the dangers of being on foot near moving race cars.

Johnson said the risk may be higher on dirt tracks.

"A lot of those dirt drivers don't have spotters. They don't have radios in the car. And in a NASCAR event, especially if you're part of the crash and that guy is mad at you, your spotter is telling you where he is," Johnson said. "I would just say that hopefully short tracks pick up this philosophy and enforce it. But I don't know if it will change a driver's mind as they get out of the race car. But it would be nice for the rest of the field to know what has happened and if there is a hot-tempered driver on foot."

NASCAR hopes that will be less of an issue now that post-accident procedures have been spelled out in the rule book.

"Will that stop a driver that's really upset?" Johnson said. "I don't know. It's hard to say."