In the wake of Kevin Ward Jr.’s tragic death, NASCAR could soon implement new rules to prevent drivers from leaving their cars after a crash. It would be another in a series of rules that follows a death intended to make the sport safer.
The Star Gazette reports that NASCAR’s governing body is currently mulling a proposal to ban racers from leaving their vehicles. “We always have discussions to become better,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp told USA Today Sports. “NASCAR has a history of looking at situations, and we’re not afraid to react to them.”
In this case, it would be a rule best implemented sooner rather than later.
While NASCAR fans have often been treated to some entertaining scuffles after a crash, it’s tough to expect the sport to allow that to continue after the 20-year old Ward left his vehicle in a sprint car race following a crash with Tony Stewart. He left his vehicle to confront Stewart when Stewart’s vehicle hit him head on, leaving Ward dead on the dirt track.
“That is just common sense to have a rule that says guys stay in your cars,” Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway told USA Today Sports. “Obviously safety trumps entertainment. We can joke and carry on about it, but safety, safety, safety. It’s a no-brainer in that regard.”
This would be much like the rule changes implemented after the 2001 Daytona crash that saw Dale Earnhardt lose his life.
As the article notes, “When the investigation into the death of seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. — who was killed in a last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500 — ended, the use of the HANS (head and neck restraint device) was mandated among other safety measures, in August 2001.”