NASCAR is laying down new laws after Tony Stewart's deadly accident, and the new bottom line is simple -- after a wreck drivers should stay in their cars and stay away from other moving cars.
NASCAR VP of competition Robin Pemberton announced the rule change this morning and acknowledged it is the direct result of Stewart driving over Kevin Ward Jr. during an dirt track race last Saturday night.
The new rule is drivers who get into a wreck should not get out of the car or remove any safety equipment until safety personnel tell them to -- and once a driver is out of the car he or she should not walk around on the track or approach moving vehicles.
The only exception would be if there's fire or smoke in the car ... then, obviously, drivers should get the hell out.
Ward and Stewart were not in a NASCAR governed race the night of the incident, but Pemberton encouraged all motor sports leagues to follow NASCAR's lead and institute similar rules of their own.
Tony Stewart Crash
Sheriff Has Seen Second Crash Video
Still No Charges
8/11/2014 2:54 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Ontario County Sheriff Philip C. Povero said he has now reviewed a second video from the fatal crash this weekend involving Tony Stewart ... but still does not see anything that indicates this was a criminal act.
Stewart has yet to be charged in the accident that claimed the life Saturday night of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. Povero said the autopsy on Ward was completed and the cause of death was massive blunt trauma.
Povero said the Sheriff's Department is still investigating. He said they are analyzing the second camera angle to see if it shows anything different, but right now there are "no facts" so far that show there was any criminal behavior on Stewart's part.
'Purge: Anarchy' Star
Tony Stewart Is Innocent!
And Here's Why ...
8/11/2014 6:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Don't blame Tony Stewart for the accident that killed Kevin Ward Jr. -- blame Ward ... at least that's the way the star of "Purge: Anarchy" sees it.
Frank Grillo broke down the horrific video of the Canandaigua Speedway tragedy with us Sunday night outside Madeo -- and he immediately stated, "Totally not Tony Stewart's fault!"
There's been a ton of speculation Stewart lost his temper, and cops are still investigating ... but Grillo explains why he thinks Tony did the best he could, under the circumstances.
Before Decision to Pull Out of Race
8/10/2014 9:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
10:50 AM PT -- Tony Stewart just released a statement, saying … "There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It's a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I've decided not to participate in today's race at Watkins Glen."
He added, "My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy."
Tony Stewart is just trying to "get through today" … according to the exec from his racing team who announced Stewart was bowing out of today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.
Greg Zipadelli, a V.P. at Stewart-Haas Racing, was visibly emotional as he held the news conference in Watkins Glens, NY … describing Stewart's state of mind hours after he hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a race at a nearby track.
Zipadelli talked about Stewart's decision not to race today -- the team initially said he would -- calling it, "the right thing to do."
Reporters were instructed not to ask about the investigation into Ward's death.
Hits and Kills Another Driver
During Dirt Track Race
8/10/2014 1:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
7:45 AM PT -- Stewart has pulled out of today's Sprint Cup race. His team says Regan Smith will fill-in behind the wheel of Stewart's #14 car.
NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart drove his race car into another driver Saturday night … sending the man to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Kevin Ward Jr. had gotten out of his #13 car after an on-track accident involving Stewart during a sprint car race (dirt track) in Canandaigua, NY.
Hours after the accident, cops said they were investigating Ward's death as an "on-track" incident, and not a criminal matter. But it could turn into one if the evidence warrants.
Stewart was supposed to race Sunday in the Sprint Cup race in Watkins Glen, NY.
NASCAR Became a Sport?
8/5/2014 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Lakers star Nick Young just stepped on the same landmine that blew up in Donovan McNabb's face -- questioning whether NASCAR deserves to be called a sport.
Swaggy P was answering a simple enough question -- we asked him which sport is most affected by rain. Nick could have just said softball ... he was in the middle of a rain delay at a celeb game, anyway.
Instead he went and said this.
Someone get 5-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson on the horn ... we've got a new passenger for him.
Then again ... maybe you agree with Swaggy.
RACE ON AT TALLADEGA
Thanks to 'Simpsons' Creator
4/1/2014 11:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Former NASCAR driver Leilani Munter WILL be taking her "Blackfish" car to Talladega, TMZ has learned -- all thanks to an incredibly generous donation from "Simpsons" co-creator Sam Simon.
As we reported, Leilani had desperately been trying to raise money to pay for the $115,000 fee to enter the car for a big race at an ARCA event at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3rd. As of our last story, she had raised only $7,500.
But that all changed last week -- Leilani appeared on Simon's radio show to talk about her car and orca-related activism ... and Simon was so moved, Leilani tells us, he donated the balance of her entrance fee immediately after the show ... $107,500.
We're told Simon visited Taiji in February (the place where "The Cove" was shot) and has become an outspoken advocate for the humane treatment of orcas. Leilani tells us, she plans to win the race on behalf of orcas around the world suffering in captivity.
Sam -- who has terminal colon cancer -- has vowed to give away his fortune before he dies ... specifically toward animal rights and feeding the hungry.
As if giving the world "The Simpsons" wasn't enough.
NASCAR Legend Michael Waltrip
Pumped About Meeting Donna Summer
... Who Died 2 Years Ago
3/23/2014 1:58 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip had the thrill of a lifetime today -- HE MET DONNA SUMMER ... at least, he thinks he did ... despite the fact she died two years ago.
Waltrip was doing some pre-race work for FOX at the NASCAR Auto Club 400 race today when he THOUGHT he spotted the disco queen.
He even sang some, "Last Dance" on his way over to interview the icon ... who was really just a woman who kinda sorta looked like her.
Once he got there, it got more awkward when he attempted to talk to her -- "Hi Donna how are you? Enjoy the races today, I love your music. You’ve got a great body of work that you’ve put together!”
Moments later, he told team owner Richard Childress, “If you like Donna Summer, she’s right back there.”
Of course, Summer passed away in 2012 ... the woman at the track is just a NASCAR fan named Star Walker.
But Star says she was flattered by the mistake because she's a HUGE Summer fan -- and even went to Donna's induction to the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame!
Ya gotta watch the clip.
Gunning to Race 'Blackfish' Car
... At Talladega
3/14/2014 1:40 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
ARCA could go ORCA at the Talladega Superspeedway ... because one of the drivers is trying to raise $115k to get behind the wheel of a "Blackfish" car at a race in May ... TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke to Leilani Munter -- one of the Top 10 female drivers in the world -- who tells us she was so moved by the documentary, she wants to do everything in her power to spread awareness about the plight of killer whales in captivity.
"I believe that it is a crime for these magnificent, intelligent, and socially complex creatures to be forced to live in tiny concrete tanks," Leilani says.And her first order of business is wrapping a car in a custom "Blackfish" design to race at an ARCA event at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3rd. The only catch -- it's expensive.
Leilani tells TMZ Sports she needs to raise $115k for the cost of the car so she can enter the race ... which she's doing in part with the Oceanic Preservation Society, the people behind the documentary, "The Cove."
"The car represents more than just a race car," Leilani says ... "It represents awareness. I absolutely want to win."
Nationwide at Daytona Band
WE DON'T SUCK
Our Rock N' Roll National Anthem Was Awesome!
2/24/2014 4:04 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The band that performed an unusual rock and roll version of the National Anthem at the Nationwide at Daytona race is firing back at haters -- insisting their song was super patriotic ... and not a horrible disgrace.
TMZ Sports spoke with the lead singer of Madison Rising ... who tells us the band has been getting a serious backlash from some NASCAR fans who didn't like their guitar-heavy version ... with some people calling them "disgraceful" and "disrespectful."
But Dave Bray -- who also happens to be a Navy veteran tells us ... "We know NASCAR has some of the most patriotic fans in the country, so I'm obviously disappointed that we didn't make a better impression."
"But the vast majority have come out with goose bumps, tears in their eyes and our version downloaded onto their iPods to listen to every day."
Bray adds, "The mission of Madison Rising is to help restore a sense of pride back into this country, and we are absolutely thrilled it’s having that effect.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
LIQUOR BEFORE BEER
You're In the Clear!
2/24/2014 2:04 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Dale Earnhardt Jr. tells TMZ Sports ... he celebrated his big Daytona 500 victory by boozin' with his team 'til around 4AM -- so why isn't he a hungover mess this morning??? Simple. He followed the cardinal drinking rule.
You know how it goes ...
"Beer before liquor, never been sicker.
... Liquor before beer, you're in the clear."
Dale Jr. was out in NYC yesterday and told us he abides by the code -- usually startin' with some Jim Beam before switchin' to suds.
*Warning -- cardinal drinking rule does not always work. Booze with caution*
Richard Petty to Danica:
I ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE
... Let's Race!
2/21/2014 11:16 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Gentlemen ... and ladies ... start your engines -- 'cause Richard Petty says he's ABSOLUTELY DOWN to race Danica Patrick in a 1-on-1 grudge match after trading shots in the media.
Of course, this whole thing started when Petty criticized Danica's crappy record -- and D.P.'s friend/team owner Tony Stewart said Petty and Patrick should settle their beef on the track.
Well, today ... Petty went on "Fox and Friends" and said HE ACCEPTS.
”Yeah you know, I’m 76 years old ... and it’s been 25 years since I’ve been in a racecar, but I’ll take that challenge.”
He then asked, "When's this gonna happen?"
Good question -- ball seems to be in Danica's court now.
Crash at Daytona
Injured Fan Gears Up for Lawsuit
My Body Is 'Deranged'
2/19/2014 4:57 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A woman who was injured in a nasty 2013 Nationwide crash at Daytona is trying to hammer out a settlement with NASCAR ... claiming her body and her career were wrecked as a result of the freak accident.
The crash occurred in February 2013 -- when Kyle Larson's #32 car was smashed into a wall and pieces of the vehicle went rocketing into the stands, injuring several spectators including Whitney Turner.
The race went on ... but Whitney's attorney Matt Morgan tells TMZ Sports her life has been a disaster ever since.
"[She's] been living on her back since the date of the Nationwide crash. She has had multiple surgical procedures performed to repair her severed Achilles' tendon and internally deranged knee."
Morgan continues, "Whitney has lost her job as a marketing specialist and is struggling to support her young daughter."
As a result, Whitney has threatened to sue the International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR claiming they're to blame for her condition.
But before she files the suit, Whitney's lawyer says the parties will gather 'round a negotiating table to try and work out a deal to "amicably resolve their claims."