NASCAR fines Tony Stewart for criticism over rules

Tony Stewart has been fined by NASCAR for critical comments about its rules decisions, hours after announcing he would return to racing at Richmond this weekend

NASCAR fines Tony Stewart for criticism over rules

The three-time Cup champion has missed the first eight races of what will be his final season before retirement after sustaining back injuries when he crashed a buggy in January.

NASCAR said it had imposed a $35,000 fine on Stewart for violating the section of the rulebook relating to "member conduct guidelines".

Earlier this week the Stewart-Haas Racing team boss had accused NASCAR of risking drivers' safety by deciding not to police how many wheelnuts teams were fitting in pitstops.

Teams are sometimes choosing not to use all five wheelnuts at crucial stops to save time and gain track position.

"The frustrating part is NASCAR putting those crew chiefs in the position to have to make that decision of being safe or sorry," Stewart said in an interview with Sirius XM Radio.

"They've done such a good job since Dale Earnhardt's death of making sure the sport is as safe as it can be for the fans and crew members and everyone involved, and then they do a rule that doesn't dictate how many lug nuts you have to have on the car.

"And guys are leaving more and more of them off each week to try to have that money stop at the end to gain positions.

"I think that rule is a huge step backwards for the sport.

"It's putting the drivers' safety in jeopardy. I think that's wrong.

"They're putting competition before safety and that's something I can't believe NASCAR has let happen."

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