Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Stewart to Donate Funds Raised for Fine

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Stewart to Donate Funds Raised for Fine

Article excerpt

Tony Stewart will pay his recent $35,000 fine from NASCAR on his own and donate the money given to him by fellow drivers to charity.

Stewart got the conversation started last week by questioning NASCAR's integrity for its lack of rules requiring all five lug nuts to be fastened on each wheel. After that, the rest of the teams and drivers pushed even harder until the sanctioning body made the necessary changes.

Although Stewart's criticism led to the fine, which other drivers agreed to pay, he thinks it was money well spent.

"I understand what NASCAR is trying to do, but I'm always going to speak my mind," Stewart said. "I don't know what the key word or key phrase was that got me fined. When it comes to safety, I'm not going to hold back. That's $35,000 well invested if it makes it safer for these guys."

Many teams were cutting time on pit road by securing only three or four lug nuts during a stop. Stewart was concerned a wheel could sheer off and start a crash.

NASCAR issued a rules update Monday requiring all five lug nuts to be tightened with each tire change. While Stewart was proven correct, it's not likely NASCAR will give him a refund.

So what pushed NASCAR to make the change?

"I think collaboration," Brad Keselowski said. "I think if we can herd all the cats into the same room and get into an active dialogue, which I think we have made major steps on over the last year or so, certainly not all the steps we want to make but still major steps, and understand that there is going to be a lot of self-interest."

DRIVER COUNCIL GAINING STRENGTH

A group of drivers have gotten NASCAR's interest by creating a united front to address issues facing stock-car racing.

Throughout the years they've learned individually it was too difficult to push for changes. But as a group, the Sprint Cup Drivers Council has been hard to ignore. …

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