NASCAR mandates fire safety gear after pit road blazes

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR will soon require pit crew members to wear additional fire safety gear after a recent explosive accident at Richmond.

Three crew members were injured in a fire that erupted during a pit stop in last month's Xfinity Series race. Fuel spilled as the crew was servicing Brendan Gaughan's car and a spark ignited the blaze.

Starting June 4, all over-the-wall crew members must wear fire-protective underwear headgear and gloves. Beginning in August, fire-resistant socks will be required once they've been SFI-certified.

NASCAR senior vice president Robin Pemberton said Friday no teams complained about the new rules, which don't include mandatory eyewear.

"They're all on board," he said.

Pemberton said the Richmond fire was caused when a fastener bolt failed on the gas can. A lug nut and a small fuel spill in Ryan Newman's stall sparked another fire earlier this month at Talladega.

Pemberton said a recent trip through the garage showed many of the race teams already had most of the safety equipment that will soon be required.

"It's really just formalizing what we were recommending all along," Pemberton said.

NASCAR will also enforce an existing rule that all gas men wear a helmet with the face shield always down. The face shield hasn't always been enforced, and one crewman at Richmond had his visor taped open.

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