Tony Stewart Miffed at NASCAR Penalties, Happy to Focus on NHRA Drag Racing

Stewart aired it out this past week in Texas: 'I'm so mad at NASCAR right now. I'm not talking about it ...'

Tony Stewart Miffed at NASCAR Penalties, Happy to Focus on NHRA Drag Racing
NHRA/National Dragster

  • NASCAR fines totaling $300,000 have irked team owner Tony Stewart
  • He said he was “super-glad” to be in fun Camping World Drag Racing Series atmosphere in Texas this past weekend.
  • While he wasn’t fined at the NHRA’s Texas FallNationals, even that was a bit of a costly weekend at Texas Motorplex.

    Tony Stewart opened his wallet to NASCAR . . . and his mouth to the media—and the Camping World Drag Racing Series reaped huge public-relations benefits this past week leading up to the Texas NHRA FallNationals.

    It already had been an expensive October for the motorsports mogul. NASCAR levied a hefty $100,000 penalty against Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick and his crew chief, Rodney Childers, after his Ford failed post-race inspection Oct. 2 in the YellaWood 500 at Talladega.

    NASCAR then slapped Stewart-Haas Racing with a $200,000 fine following the next race, the Oct. 9 Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte, ruling that Cole Custer and his team attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race to help teammate Chase Briscoe advance in the Playoffs,

    The team dropped its appeal in the first case. However, its chief competition director, Greg Zipadelli, said in a statement about the second controversy, “Stewart-Haas Racing denies any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend its personnel against these allegations in its appeal with NASCAR.”

    Perturbed by the pricey punishments, Stewart told reporters last Wednesday during his fantasy racing camp at Texas Motor Speedway to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities just how angry he was at NASCAR.

    Tony Stewart Miffed at NASCAR Penalties, Happy to Focus on NHRA Drag Racing

    Tony Stewart Racing’s Leah Pruett had a wild weekend at Texas.

    NHRA/National Dragster

    “I’m so mad at NASCAR right now. I’m not talking about it . . . If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve got a couple of appearances that I have to make, I wouldn’t be in another NASCAR race the rest of the year. Wouldn’t waste my time,” Stewart told the Associated Press.

    “Super-glad I’m going drag racing this weekend,” he said, referring to the Texas NHRA FallNationals, at Ennis, south of Dallas, where his two-car team of Top Fuel-driving wife Leah Pruett and Funny Car racer Matt Hagan were racing in the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.

    He told reporters about the NHRA, “Love it. The atmosphere is way different, way different. And I like the atmosphere there. I have all year.”

    His NHRA weekend turned out to be costly, too. In Friday night’s qualifying session, wife Leah Pruett’s Rush Truck Centers Dragster detonated, in her words, “when a valve train part malfunctioned and caused colossal damage.”

    Stewart did receive one bright piece of news from Hagan that mitigated all the recent expenses. The Funny Car racer earned the provisional No. 1 qualifying position Friday to collect the $15,000 bonus Texas Motorplex was awarding as a promotional incentive during the “Stampede of Speed”-branded race.

    Tony Stewart Miffed at NASCAR Penalties, Happy to Focus on NHRA Drag Racing

    Matt Hagan is third in the NHRA Funny Car points standings.

    NHRA/National Dragster

    In an article to be published in Speed Sport News Magazine’s November issue, Stewart said, “I’ve enjoyed the experience. I absolutely love the atmosphere at an NHRA race: how friendly everybody is, how much of a family atmosphere it feels like inside the racing community.

    “I love how the fans have the opportunity to just buy a ticket and come down and be right in the middle of the action in the pits. I think it’s awesome that people can see what these teams do to get the cars to the (starting) line to make that (pass). Even though it’s a short run, they see all the work it takes to make it go down through there. So I’ve really enjoyed it.”

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