NASCAR announced that Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski have each been fined for their part in a post race brawl at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keselowski was fined $50,000 while Stewart will see his bank account lightened by $25,000. Both drivers were put on probation for four races. The other two drivers involved in the series of incidents, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, were not punished.
The brawl was started by an incident involving Keselowski and Matt Kenseth. According to Fox Sports, Denny Hamlin admitted that he brake checked Keselowski on the cool down lap. Keselowski tried to spin out Hamlin but failed. As the field headed for the pits, Keselowski made contact with Kenseth. Tony Stewart was unintentionally struck by Keselowski. Stewart retaliated by backing up hard into Keselowski’s car.
As reported in The Inquisitr, Keselowski and Kenseth, along with members of their crews, were the actual combatants in the melee. It appears that Stewart was penalized for being Tony Stewart. According to NASCAR.com, both Keselowski and Stewart were penalized under rule 12-1: “Actions Detrimental to Stock Car Racing.” Stewart’s only involvement in the incident was his contact with Keselowski. But apparently the powers that be at NASCAR saw fit to issue not only the fine but also the probation due to Stewart’s history of temper flare ups.
The spotlight has recently moved away from Stewart after his well publicized incident at a dirt track race in New York, in which fellow driver Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed. A grand jury determined that Stewart was not criminally liable in Ward’s death. Stewart sat out three Sprint Cup races following the incident.
Fox NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip thinks that Stewart was punished in this incident because of the publicity surrounding the death of Kevin Ward.
“It’s unfortunate Stewart got dragged into this. Because of the incident in New York, the media know who Stewart is, saw what happened and jumped to their own conclusions and made judgments. That’s unfortunate because Stewart had nothing to do with what happened on Saturday night.”
Stewart Has A History Of Losing His Temper
The Sporting News compiled a list of confrontations involving Tony Stewart.
- October 1999. Stewart is involved in several incidents with the late Kenny Irwin, Jr., at Martinsville Speedway.
- February 2000. Stewart and Robby Gordon have confrontations both on and off the track at Daytona.
- August 2000. Jeff Gordon and Stewart get into an argument at Watkins Glen and have to be separated by crew members.
- March 2001. Gordon and Stewart tangle again, at Bristol.
- July 2001. Stewart gets into a confrontation with reporters at Daytona, as well as NASCAR Race Director Gary Nelson.
- August 2002. Stewart shoves a reporter at Indianapolis.
- June 2004. At Sonoma, Stewart reaches into Brian Vickers’ car and punches him.
- March 2005. Stewart becomes entangled with Vickers again during a Busch Series race at Bristol.
- August 2006. Stewart is involved in a crash with Clint Bowyer. Stewart hits Bowyer’s car on the cool down lap at Pocono.
- June 2007. Kurt Busch charges Stewart’s car on pit road following an on track incident at Dover.
- February 2008. Busch and Stewart come together on track during practice at Daytona. Later, Stewart allegedly punches Busch.
- December 2011. Stewart is briefly jailed in Australia after fighting with a racetrack owner.
- August 2012. Stewart throws his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car after an incident at Bristol.
- April 2013. Joey Logano blocks Stewart on the track at Fontana. The two later have a confrontation on pit road.
- May 2013. Once again, Stewart and Busch tangle at Richmond, after an on track incident.
Given his history and reputation, NASCAR seems to be looking for reasons to discipline Tony Stewart. Would officials have responded with the same penalties if another driver had backed into Keselowski?
[Image via NBC News]