WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- NASCAR's new rule of staying inside the race car during a caution pertains to all smaller speedways under their guidance; including NASCAR sanctioned Bowman Gray Racing.
President of the Winston-Salem Speedway Inc. Gray Garrison said that the NASCAR rule enforcing caution safety is a rule that has been "preached" to their drivers for years but is now a written reminder.
Under the new rule, during a caution light, drivers must turn off the car and lower the window net if uninjured, wait for directions from safety crews or NASCAR officials to loosen safety equipment and then only after they are directed to exit the car, proceed directly to the ambulance or other vehicle as directed without approaching the racing surface or another vehicle.
"They just want the driver to be aware of your surroundings, understand what’s going on and just be conscious before you do something or react to something,” Garrison said.
Garrison said every crash and situation is circumstantial and drivers must use their best judgment on whether it’s safe or not to stay in the car.
"We don't know what’s going on in the car, only the driver does. So the driver has to be responsible for his actions. If he feels like he needs to get out of the car then he needs to get out of the car," Garrison said.
Along with EMS personnel and ambulances at every race, Garrison said they have about 20 Winston-Salem police officers there as well who reinforce their "zero-tolerance policy" on unruly behavior in the pit and on the stands.
No penalties for the rule have been released; each case will be looked at individually.