NASCAR adopts new rules in wake of fatal Tony Stewart accident
NASCAR has adopted new rules designed to prevent incidents similar to the fatal accident involving Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr.
Ward Jr. was struck and killed by Stewart's car at a dirt-track race in Canandaigua, New York, last Saturday after getting out of his car to confront Stewart during a caution.
The new rules direct drivers to remain in their cars when stopped or involved in a track incident until instructed to leave by a NASCAR/track official, unless it's an emergency situation. Drivers and crew members are now forbidden to approach the racing surface or any other vehicle.
The complete release announcing the new rules can be found here.
After the accident, Stewart withdrew from the Sprint Cup race the next day at Watkins Glen. It was announced Thursday Stewart won't race this weekend at Michigan, effectively ending his chances of qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Ward Jr. was 20. His funeral was held Thursday.
The accident in which he was killed touched off debates as video of the crash circulated online, with fans questioning whether Stewart, known for his hot temper, tried to send his own message by buzzing Ward, or whether Ward recklessly stepped onto a dark track clad in black.
Stewart was racing a day before the Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen. After a bump from Stewart sent Ward's winged car spinning into the wall, the young driver climbed out and walked onto the track in his black firesuit, gesturing angrily. Stewart's No. 14 car seemed to fishtail, and Ward was thrown through the air as his parents and fans watched in horror.
- Ben Estes (the Associated Press contributed to this story)