Both Danica Patrick and Kyle Busch were punished by NASCAR today for their actions during last weekend’s action at the Auto Club Speedway. Patrick, was fined $20,000 and placed on probation by NASCAR for her actions during Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at the two-mile oval.
Competition officials ruled that Patrick violated safety rules when she walked toward the racing surface to gesture at Kasey Kahne’s passing car after the two made contact entering Turn 1 on Lap 120 which caused Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet to slam hard into the outside wall in the process. The guidelines are detailed in the on-track incident procedure section (10.4.2.1) of the 2016 NASCAR Rule Book that no driver can get out of their car and walk towards the track during racing action. Patrick has also been placed on probation for the next four events.
Patrick emerged from the car and walked toward the waiting ambulance for the mandatory ride to the infield care center, but — though she stayed below the uppermost white stripe delineating the racing surface from the track apron — her path deviated and included an agitated gesture in Kahne’s direction.
The fine is the same amount issued to Trevor Bayne last June for his actions at Dover International Speedway. After his involvement in a crash at the Monster Mile, Bayne did not wait for safety officials to tend to him, and there were no extenuating circumstances (such as fire) that prompted a more hasty exit.
Guidelines for properly exiting a race car have been stated in the drivers’ and crew chiefs’ meeting before every NASCAR race. The rules were formalized in August 2014 after a sprint-car accident at a New York dirt track involving Tony Stewart that fatally injured young racer Kevin Ward Jr., who approached Stewart’s passing car on foot.
During the yellow flag for the Kahne-Patrick incident, NASCAR race control ordered Kahne and his crew chief, Keith Rodden, to the Sprint Cup Series hauler for a post-race consultation with officials. Kahne apologized both mid-race over his radio communications, post-race after leaving the NASCAR hauler and again post-race through his personal Twitter account.
Patrick finished 38th in the 39-car field Sunday. Kahne wound up 28th.
Busch, was penalized for his actions following the NASCAR X-Finity Series event on Saturday afternoon. The Las Vegas native was leading on the last lap before his tire blew throwing debris all over the track in Turn 1.
NASCAR decided not to throw the caution despite the debris as that angered the defending Cup champion. If NASCAR threw the caution out, the field would have been frozen which meant Busch would be the winner.
Instead, they made them all race back to the line and the Las Vegas native came home second.
Busch, didn’t take part in any post race media obligations as he was fined $10,000 for that.