NASCAR drivers' council to jointly pay Tony Stewart's fine

NASCAR's drivers' council will jointly pay the $35,000 fine Tony Stewart was given for criticising the series over a wheelnut rule

NASCAR drivers' council to jointly pay Tony Stewart's fine

Stewart had accused the series of "putting competition before safety" by deciding not to police how many wheelnuts teams were fitting at pitstops.

That has encouraged teams to not secure all five nuts in order to save time.

Drivers' body representative Denny Hamlin said they had agreed it was important to send NASCAR a message over how Stewart had been treated.

"When Tony informed us of the fine we didn't agree with it," Hamlin said.

"No one agreed with it and thought there's something we should do about it.

"So I think it was a way for us to send a message back to NASCAR, not that we were trying to send any specific message but 'hey, we just believe we should have the right to speak our opinion.'

"I don't know whether every driver agrees with the opinion that he had or not but it doesn't matter, it's what he asked and so he answered the question.

"That was the biggest thing for us, that we should have the right to speak our opinion.

"It really has nothing to with lugnuts or no lugnuts or anything like that, it's more the drivers believing that they have a right to express their opinion, especially when asked about it in an interview.

"I know at times we're guilty of being too honest or too opinionated and it costs you a nickel or two.

"But we just think that there should be a little bit of leniency there for someone who knows a lot about our sport, he's been in our sport a long time and obviously he gave his opinion.

"Especially on something on safety too, I think it's pretty important."

Hamlin said NASCAR had not responded to the drivers' move yet but he was "sure we'll hear something at some point".

He added that he was proud of the solidarity they had shown.

"It just shows solidarity, that we're all in this together as the drivers and we want to have one voice because that one voice is going to be obviously a little bit louder and clearer to NASCAR when we go into meetings," Hamlin said.

"I think that our communication as drivers has grown a lot over the last year.

"The barriers that we have have been broken down tremendously."

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NASCAR fines Tony Stewart for criticism over rules

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