NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 15, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us today. We'll kickoff with our vice president of competition and racing development, Mr. Robin Pemberton.
ROBIN PEMBERTON: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for being here.
As we've demonstrated in our history, we're willing to react quickly to different incidents. It's not just about NASCAR, but it's all of sports and motorsports that we take note in.
So this morning we're formalizing one of the regulations of our on?track situations, putting a new rule in the rule book this morning immediately.
I'm going to read that directly off the bulletin that will go out later this morning to all of the teams. This is 9?16, on?track incident procedures.
During an event, if a racecar is involved in an on?track incident, and/or is stopped on or near the racing surface, and unable to continue to make forward progress, unless extenuating circumstances and conditions exist with the racecar, example, on fire or smoke in the cockpit, et cetera, the driver should take the following steps:
Shut off electrical power, and if the drivers is uninjured, lower the window net.
Do not loosen, disconnect or remove any driver personal safety equipment until directed to do so bysafety personnel or a NASCAR official.
After being directed to exit the racecar, the driver should proceed either to the ambulance or other vehicle or as otherwise directed by safety personnel or NASCAR official.
At no time should a driver, crew member or members approach any portion of the racing surface or apron.
At no time should a driver, crew member or members approach another moving vehicle.
All vehicles not involved in the incident or that are able to continue afterwards should slow down to a cautious speed as outlined in section 10?4, yellow flag rules.
Use extreme care as they approach an incident scene and follow any direction given by safety personnel or NASCAR officials.
Cars in line behind a safety car should not weave or otherwise stray from the line in the vicinity of an accident.
That is 9?16, on?track incident procedures.
So I guess we'll take a couple questions.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead with questions.
Q. Can you walk us through the process of when you started to start thinking about doing this and finally putting it in the rule book.
ROBIN PEMBERTON: Really we're formalizing rules that have been there. It's reminders that take place during drivers meetings with drivers about on?track incidents.
We're just formalizing this and it's something that we worked on this week.
Q. There was some conversation it might be hard to enforce this. What should the enforcement be should somebody not follow this procedure?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: This will be a behavioral?type thing and they'll be addressed according to each situation.
Q. Obviously all the highlights from a lot of races show drivers walking out towards cars, making gestures and throwing helmets, that kind of thing. Do you feel like you're losing any part of the show by instituting this rule?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: This rule is really put in place for the safety of all of our competitors. It's safety first right now.
Q. Did you consult with other sanctioning bodies or does this rule just apply for NASCAR or you just made also contact maybe with other series to make sure maybe they have the same or similar rules?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: No. We're really formalizing something that has been informal, but just an understanding, over the years.
Q. For the record, is this a result of what happened last Saturday night?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: 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.
Q. What role did the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward situation play in this decision by NASCAR?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: It was one of those that was obviously something that everybody paid attention to. And it is on the heels of that.
Q. We were told you were the only person from NASCAR talking to us today. Have you talked to Tony? Do you have any sense of how he's doing? What do you feel like the impact on the sport has been?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: I have not personally talked to Tony, no.
Q. You said you were formalizing something that was informal before. Are there any other kind of rules out there that could be enforced now, pending something else bad happening like this?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: If you look at the history of this sport, and I've been fortunate to be on both sides of it, things like this come up occasionally. You just have to address them. You can't speculate what's in front of us.
Q. In terms of the penalties that could potentially be assessed, would they be in?race, mid?race penalties or after the fact, a review, or potentially are all those options open?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: You can't speculate on that. It's a behavioral penalty. We'll acknowledge it when it happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for joining us today.