News & Media

NASCAR clarifies rules about giving assistance

October 22, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- NASCAR made a clear distinction about giving assistance to another car with a decision made public Saturday morning at Talladega Superspeedway.

The bottom line? A driver can push a disabled car to pit road but may not push another car to assist the driver in saving fuel, or in maintaining caution pace while saving fuel on the race track.

As always, no assistance of any kind is allowed on the final lap.

The clarification comes as a reaction to Austin Dillon (in his Sprint Cup debut) pushing Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick under caution at Kansas Speedway, while Harvick was conserving fuel.

In NASCAR's view, helping a driver save fuel by pushing his car provides a competitive advantage that may not be available to drivers without teammates. There also is the possibility that such assistance could skew the results of the Chase.

"You can still push a car that's disabled or out of power to pit road," NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said.

What happens when one car pushes another past the entrance to pit road?

"That's when we would react," Tharp said.

The clarification has been passed along to teams through word of mouth, not with a formal competition bulletin. The subject also is likely to come up during the drivers' meeting before Sunday's Good Sam Club 500, the sixth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

It is also likely that new language regarding assistance will appear in the 2012 rule book, Tharp said.