Why NASCAR Got the Fine Right for Danica Patrick

Following Sunday’s incident between Danica Patrick and Kasey Kahne, Patrick was understandably angry. A simple miscalculation from Kahne’s No. 5 sent her No. 10 barreling into the frontstretch wall and ultimately out of the race. But instead of showing her displeasure from the safety of her wrecked race car and the EMTs surrounding it, she chose to walk on to a hot race track instead and was fined $20,000 and placed on probation for the next four events.

This decision is a plus for NASCAR. Since the tragic passing of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward in 2014, the sanctioning body has instituted a rule that prohibits drivers from walking on to a hot race track following an accident. Although a few drivers have transgressed that rule since (from J.J. Yeley at Watkins Glen that same weekend to Jennifer Jo Cobb at Dover in June of 2015), most have been good about following this rule designed to keep the drivers from jeopardizing their safety.

So for Patrick to take the risk and climb up the track, even if Kahne was in the wrong, was a foolhardy move that could have proved fatal if the slightest mistake were to happen. While what happened initially between her and Kahne could be considered subjective (whether or not it was intentional contact), what she did was black and white. If a driver gets angry with another driver, flash a few angry gestures from the car, or better yet, wait for them in the garage or on pit road. Time and again we’ve seen that this is usually the best way to go about settling a dispute.

Those arguing in Patrick’s favor would be quick to point out that she was standing just below the white line that separated the track from the apron. True, but that doesn’t shake the fact that she left the area of her car and the EMTs and made it a point to let Kahne know that she was mad. She put herself in harm’s way, and that’s unacceptable.

So in this case, NASCAR was in the right in doling out the punishment to the No. 10 team. Only time will tell if this is enough of a precedent that will deter other drivers from doing the same.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Joseph Shelton
Joseph Shelton
Husband to Stacie and Daddy to Dexter, Aeris, Meredith, and furbabies Lola,Tiny, Lucy, Genesis, Lily, Tommy The Cat, and Ace. Ardent race fan and serious Braves baseball lover.


  1. Danica fine not big enough,$20,000 to her is like $2 to me.EMT tried to stop her and she pushed him away.Push an umpire in baseball and that is a suspension.Nascar rules,what a joke.


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