New NASCAR Rule Following Tony Stewart Accident

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An incident on a dirt track has pushed NASCAR to make a rule change on the asphalt.

Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed on a dirt track in New York on August 9th when he got our of his car and Tony Stewart ran into him.

Now NASCAR has added a rule that addresses how drivers should handle on-track incidents.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's Vice President of Competition and Racing Development explained the rule, "After being directed to exit the race car, the driver should proceed either to the ambulance or other vehicle as otherwise directed by safety personnel or NASCAR officials."

He said this was an informal rule that is now being put in the rule book.

"Through time you have to recognize when you get a reminder or tap on the shoulder, something that may need to be addressed. This is one of those times where we look outside our sport and we look at other things, and we feel like it was time to address this," Pemberton explained.

Jimmie Johnson said had the incident happened on a NASCAR track, the fatal crash could've been prevented.

"A lot of those dirt drivers they don't have spotters, they don't have radios in the car, and in a NASCAR event, especially if your a part of the crash and that guy's mad at you, your spotter's telling you where he is and you know as you come upon the scene that guys out of his car, so you know those things," Johnson said.

Which might be a good thing, because fellow driver Kyle Larson said the new rule may not stop drivers from getting out of the car.

"People are gonna think twice about, you know, after that deal last week, you know, I don't think you'll, I'm sure you'll still see people get out and point and stuff but, I'm sure they won't venture too far away from their own race car from now on," he said.

Fans are in full support of the new rule.

"I think if any driver gets out of their car and is taunting another driver as they're driving by , [they] should probably be banned for the rest of the season for safety purposes," Dan Winzeler said.

Long-time fan, Patrick McCullough, agreed. And, he said he doesn't think the change will affect the sport's entertainment value.

"At any level they're still gonna beat and bang, but when there's an issue, handle it in the pits. It's not an on-track thing," McCullough said.

If a driver breaks the new rule and gets out of the car on the track, Pemberton said those incidents will be handled on a case by case basis.

The Pure Michigan 400 is Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Tony Stewart will not be racing. Jeff Burton will be taking his place in the #14 car.