Stewart happy after his first race back, vows not to give up criticism of NASCAR

Tony Stewart suffered a flat tire during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2016 in Richmond, Virginia.
Tony Stewart suffered a flat tire during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2016 in Richmond, Virginia.
Tony Stewart suffered a flat tire during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2016 in Richmond, Virginia.

Tony Stewart was a happy guy Sunday at Richmond International Raceway. The driver and team owner had missed the first eight races of the season due to a pre-season ATV accident that resulted in a broken back. After surgery and rehab Stewart was back in a racecar Sunday.

His return was announced only days prior to the Richmond race. On the very same day however, NASCAR issued a fine of $35,000 to Stewart for comments he had made earlier in the week.  Stewart had criticized the sanctioning body for net enforcing a rule that requires crewmembers to put all five lug nuts on a wheel during a pit stop. Putting on fewer allows for faster pit stops.

Although no wheels have come off during a race, in several instances drivers have been forced to pit again with loose wheels. During a media event Wednesday Stewart, who has been vocal about NASCAR in the past, was critical of the practice of NASCAR not enforcing the practice of ensuing all five lug nuts are on the wheel this year.  NASCAR announced the fine Thursday saying Stewart violated Section 12.8.1 of the rulebook; actions that could result in a $10,000-$50,000 fine include disparaging the sport and/or NASCAR’s leadership, or verbal abuse of a NASCAR Official, media members, fans, etc.

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About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.