NASCAR has placed Stewart-Haas Racing driver Danica Patrick on probation and fined her $20,000 for walking onto the apron of the track during last Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.
On lap 120, Patrick was running in 19th when Kasey Kahne came down to side draft her but got closer than expected and clipped her right rear quarter panel, sending her hard into the outside wall.
Patrick walked up onto the apron of the track after her car came to a halting stop, which breaks one of NASCAR’s most recently implemented rules of not walking onto a hot track — that is, one on which racing activity is presently occuring. This rule came in touch following what happened in upstate New York in 2014, when Kevin Ward, Jr. came down the track upon exiting his car in a dirt race, gesturing at Tony Stewart, and was he was struck by the NASCAR driver’s racing vehicle.
The new rule is mandatory unless a driver fears fire, and at one point there was a fireball underneath the No. 10 machine. But while exiting, she went up the track and raised her hands out of frustration of Kahne’s move.
In addition to Patrick’s fine, multiple teams received official warnings, including Austin Dillon’s No. 3, Paul Menard’s No. 27, Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 and Ryan Blaney’s No. 21, all for failing the laser inspection station during NASCAR inspection twice before qualifying. Carl Edwards’ No. 19 was also warned for a similar issue, except his occurred in pre-race inspection. Additionally, Kenseth’s team received another warning for failing template inspection twice during the pre-qualifying period, while Michael McDowell’s No. 95 were warned for a truck trailing arm that failed inspection.
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