NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR upgrades pit road safety rules following rash of fires

An injured crew member receives medical attention after a fire on pit road during the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race at Richmond International Raceway, in Richmond, Va., April 24, 2015.
An injured crew member receives medical attention after a fire on pit road during the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race at Richmond International Raceway, in Richmond, Va., April 24, 2015. AP

In what appears to be in response to a rash of fuel-related fires on pit road during recent races, NASCAR this week issued an email to all pit crew members outlining new safety requirements, which will take effect the first week of June.

In the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Observer, NASCAR notes that some safety gear, which have been recommended for pit crew members, will soon become mandatory.

All pit crew members will be required to wear fire-retardant gloves, underwear (from the neck to the ankles), head socks (which cover the nose and mouth) and socks.

The underwear, head socks and socks were only recommended for pit crew members who did not fuel the car. The email noted the rules should go into effect on June 4 and a technical bulletin would likely be issued before then.

In one recent incidents three pit crew members were injured in the April 24 Xfinity Series race at Richmond, Va.

A malfunction in the fueling head, which seals the fuel can to the car, caused fuel to spill during a pit stop for driver Brendan Gaughan. Sparks from the car’s lug nuts ignited the fuel into a spectacular fire.

Jamie Dick cleared to race

Xfinity Series driver Jamie Dick, who was diagnosed with diabetes in March, has been medically cleared to return to racing and will compete this weekend at Iowa Speedway.

“I have been looking forward to this weekend since the day after Phoenix,” Dick said. “There were a lot of unanswered questions when I was first diagnosed, but my focus quickly shifted to getting cleared to race.

“With any new diagnosis, there is a lot to learn, but my doctors are doing a great job and the NASCAR staff has been great with showing me the path to getting healthy and back to driving.”

While he was sidelined, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Brandon Gdovic filled in with the Viva Motorsports No. 55 Chevrolet.

A fishing fundraiser for veterans

Operation North State, which provides support to North Carolina’s deployed troops and veterans in need, will host its Top Shelf Fishin’ Festival fundraiser Tuesday at Randleman Lake Marina.

The event is co-sponsored by The Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau and the Petty Family Foundation. Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty will be among the celebrities on hand to greet the boats as they return and thank participating veterans.

For more information, call (336) 764-5967 or send an email to

Fan Day set at MWR

Michael Waltrip Racing will host its annual Fan Fest at its shop in Cornelius from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Among the activities planned are shop tours, autograph sessions with Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and David Ragan, pit road practice and a display of muscle cars provided by RK Motors. Admission is free.

Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter

Charlotte Race Weeks Schedule


Noon-1:40 p.m.: Sprint Showdown


1:45-3:15 p.m.: All-Star race practice

3:15-3:25 p.m.: All-Star race pit-road


4:15 p.m.: Sprint Showdown qualifying

5:45 p.m.: Truck series qualifying

7:15 p.m.: Sprint Showdown

8:30 p.m.: N.C. Education Lottery 200

Truck race


7:10 p.m.: All-Star race qualifying

9 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

May 21

2:30-3:55 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice

4-4:55 p.m.: Xfinity Series practice

5:30-6:55 p.m.: Xfinity Series practice

7:15 p.m.: Sprint Cup qualifying

May 22

6 p.m.: Outlaw Showdown, The Dirt Track

at Charlotte

May 23

10-10:55 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice

11:15 a.m.: Xfinity series qualifying

1-1:50 p.m.: Final Sprint Cup practice

2 p.m.: Hisense 300 Xfinity Series race

May 24

6 p.m.: Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race

Note: For ticket information, call 800-455-3267 or visit