For her actions following a crash at the recent NASCAR Auto Club 400 race the other weekend, Danica Patrick has been fined $20,000.
Competition officials ruled that Patrick violated safety rules when she walked toward the racing surface to gesture at Kasey Kahne’s passing car. The guidelines are detailed in the on-track incident procedure section (10.4.2.1) of the 2016 NASCAR Rule Book. Patrick has also been placed on probation for the next four events.
Additionally, Kyle Busch was fined $10,000 for failure to fulfill his post-race media obligations following the NASCAR Xfinity. Busch is also on probation for the next four events.
Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet made contact with Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet in the 120th lap of Sunday’s Auto Club 400, turning Patrick’s car sharply into the outside retaining wall on the frontstretch.
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 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 Steward 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.