BROOKLYN, Mich. – NASCAR has thrived for years thanks to the personalities of some of its biggest stars — and that includes an occasional feud, gesture or angry encounter on the track.

But less than a week after Kevin Ward Jr. was killed during a sprint-car race in New York after being struck by a car driven by Tony Stewart, NASCAR on Friday barred its drivers from approaching the track or moving cars in a race.

Ward, 20, left his car after a bumping incident to be on the dirt track. He gestured toward three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart before he was struck last Saturday.

“This is one of those times where we look outside our sport and we look at other things, and we feel like it was time to address this,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition.

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NASCAR’s new rule takes effect immediately.


Jeff Gordon set the track qualifying record at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn with a speed of 206.558 mph, winning his 76th career pole in the Sprint Cup Series. It was the seventh-fastest pole-winning speed in the history of NASCAR’s top series.

Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., will start in 11th and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw will start 15th in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.