TONY STEWART FINED $10,000 BY USAC
PLACED ON PROBATION THROUGH 2008
USAC team owner Tony Stewart has been fined $10,000 and Tony Stewart Racing has been placed on probation for the balance of the 2008 USAC racing season following an incident on pit road during Thursday night’s USAC National Midget race at O’Reilly Raceway Park (ORP) in Indianapolis.
Stewart was fined for violation of USAC competition rules 10.28 (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) and 10.32 (Conduct Detrimental to Racing) after his interaction with USAC race officials following an on-track incident involving one of his Midgets driven by Tracy Hines. Hines had scraped the wall and pitted for a tire change, but his car was not deemed ready to re-enter the race in time to rejoin the field for the restart.
“USAC immediately assessed the incident and it was determined that unacceptable behavior detrimental to the sport had occurred, and that the professionalism and the integrity of the series and its promoters had been severely compromised,” stated Jason Smith, Vice President of Racing Operations for USAC. “While we respect the passion of our teams in the spirit of competition, we regret this incident occurred and are dedicated to averting a recurrence in the future.”
“I apologize to USAC and their fans for my behavior last week at ORP. My own misinterpretation of USAC policies in place at the time led to confusion and elevated emotions,” Stewart said. “I’m very passionate about my race team and will stand up for them when I think something isn’t right. Obviously, I handled this particular situation the wrong way, and if I had to do it over again, it never would’ve happened.”
In addition to the fine and his race team being placed on probation through the 2008 season, Stewart will also pay for the costs of new radios and uniforms for USAC officials.
“Tony offered to go beyond the penalties USAC assessed him because he wanted to do something positive that would have specific impact for our officials,” said Kevin Miller, CEO and President of USAC. “While what took place at ORP last week was unfortunate, we applaud Tony’s commitment to bettering USAC and for providing additional equipment officials use week in and week out.”