Frustration boiled over two races ago in California when [Danica Patrick] was hooked by Kasey Kahne and slammed into the wall. Patrick walked up the apron of the track to hold her hands out, palms up, when Kahne drove by — and NASCAR promptly fined her $20,000 for walking on the apron or track toward moving cars.
"I understand NASCAR has to do whatever they can to protect their drivers and making sure that we don't put ourselves in harm's way," Patrick said.
"Did I feel like I was in danger? Absolutely not. It's my own body. I don't want to put my body in danger at all. But then you start working into gray areas of, well, what's too close and what's not close? So I get their position. But some of the most exciting throwback videos you see of NASCAR is of drivers getting all rowdy and getting mad. …
You can't do things that completely eliminate the spirit of the sport." The rule was instituted after Tony Stewart accidentally struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint-car race in August 2014. Ward was out on the track, and Stewart has said he didn't see Ward until just before his car struck the 20-year-old. Patrick's fine was the same as the one issued last year to Trevor Bayne, who crossed the track after an accident just to get to the infield before safety workers got to him.
"I get that it's 2016, and we can get smarter and better, and there are certain things that cross the line, and I guess that they deemed that I did," Patrick said. "When I did it, it wasn't like I thought, 'I don't care if I get fined, I'm going to walk out [there].' It literally didn't enter my mind. So I think that's the challenge. … When I did that, I was just really giving the universal 'WTF' sign to him like, 'I can't believe you just did that to me.'" ESPN.com