NASCAR issued a rule change and that change is good, and that change is right.

That change is NOT an indictment of either Stewart's or Ward, Jr.'s actions last week.


The new rule is intended to keep drivers in their cars after an accident (unless emergency conditions necessitate otherwise), and furthermore to keep drivers who must exit their vehicles away from the racing surface and the apron. In addition, the rule extends to drivers whose care are not involved in or immobilized after an incident, requiring them to keep clear of any incident site and to follow single file behind the pace car around the site until clear.

While the new rule is an obvious reaction to last week's accident involving Stewart and Ward, Jr., it should not be read as an affirmative admission that either party involved did or did not do something that they should or should not have done. To assign judgment to such proactive change is to discourage rules like these from being introduced under similar circumstances in the future.

Furthermore, the fact that professionals should not need a rule as a substitute for good judgement is not a reason for any racing series' governing body to refrain from making such a rule. It plugs the hole that pours out the familiar excuse: "well, there wasn't a rule against it." Good judgment, codified.

This rule will likely evolve as it's gray areas are explored by the enterprising rule-bending that is such a storied part of NASCAR's history, but hopefully the spirit of the rule will not.


The accident last week is still under investigation by people who know more than we do and who are trained more than we are at reconstructing (and deconstructing) what occurred. The detective work is theirs to do, and as a result responsibility will land when and where it should.


In the mean time, kudos to NASCAR for responding swiftly and appropriately and let's hope the spirit of this rule makes for safer racing.

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