INDYCAR adds Rule 9.3.8 to 2015 Rulebook on Detrimental Competitor Conduct

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First reported earlier Tuesday afternoon by RACER.com, INDYCAR has added a new rule to the 2015 rulebook regarding competitor conduct.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles followed up shortly in an interview with Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin.

Per an INDYCAR spokesperson, language and details of the new rule have been in the works since the Verizon IndyCar Series’ June 27 race at Auto Club Speedway at Fontana, Calif., where some drivers were outspoken about the series’ style of racing at that race.

It was an exciting race, but bordered on scary in a “double-edged sword” style of racing.

In a Wednesday, July 1, teleconference, Miles said stakeholders could be penalized for comments detrimental to the sport.

“I don’t view the Series as Hulman and Company, Inc. I view this Series as the drivers, the teams, and us, and our investors and stakeholders, by which I mean broadcasters and sponsors, and comments can be damaging to the interest of the whole, and I personally think our sport has been probably too lax in that regard,” Miles told assembled reporters on the call.

“So I expect to see a change in our attitude about that going forward.”

The rule as now written and added to the rulebook is listed below, in its entirety:

Rule 9.3.8, Detrimental Competitor Conduct, states:

Competitors must be respectful, professional, fair and courteous to others. At all times, Competitors must not, attempt to, or engage in conduct or statements that in the judgment of INDYCAR:

a) Threatens or denigrates any Official, fellow Competitor or the INDYCAR brand;

b) Calls into question the integrity or legitimacy of the Rules or their application, construction or interpretation;

c) Denigrates the IndyCar Series racing schedule or Event(s);

d) Threatens or denigrates any INDYCAR business relationship, including those with sponsors or broadcasters;

e) Otherwise threatens the integrity, reputation or public confidence of the sport, INDYCAR, or IndyCar Series.

Here is a statement from Miles, out today, regarding this new Rule:

“This rule is not a gag order. We recognize that controversy, tension and drama all have a place in motorsport today. Our drivers are competitors and we have no interest in eliminating the emotion and passion that is an integral part of our sport – or limit the content for media covering INDYCAR.  As an example, some have speculated that the exchange between Ed Carpenter and Sage Karam last Saturday at Iowa Speedway would result in penalty under this new rule – that is not the case. We feel exchanges of that manner do not cross the line and instead highlight the intensity of Verizon IndyCar Series competition. We feel it’s our responsibility to distinguish between irresponsible statements that damage the sport or its competitors and the intense competitive nature of the series. This rule is to ensure we have authority to act when we feel it is required.”

The timing of this rule coming out today comes on the heels of what was the third consecutive NBCSN race telecast north of 500,000 viewers, with 541,000 watching the Iowa Corn 300 on Saturday night. It is the most-watched race on NBCSN since Baltimore, 2011, when the network was then known as Versus.