Stewart fined, but escapes race ban

NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart has been fined US$10,000 and had an existing probation extended until November 21 for his part in a fracas following last Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona

Stewart fined, but escapes race ban

Stewart, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot Pontiac, had to be restrained from confronting NASCAR technical chief Gary Nelson by his team owner and crew chief Greg Zipadelli after he had been penalised for crossing the yellow line that marks the edge of the speedway's apron. An irate Stewart argued he had been pushed over the line by the Pontiac of Johnny Benson.

The volatile Hoosier driver also kicked a journalist's tape recorder under a truck during his garage area melee.

Stewart was demoted from sixth to 26th - the last car on the lead lap - after failing to respond to a black flag for the offence. It is thought that because of that instant penalty handed out on the night, he escaped from a race ban or a more severe fine. Stewart must also formally apologise to the journalist whose tape recorder he grabbed and kicked.

The probation period stops two days after the end of the season and includes the extra day to cover any rain delay at the season-ending Atlanta finale on November 19th.

Stewart was already serving a probation for an offence at Bristol on March 25, when he rammed Jeff Gordon's Chevrolet in the pitlane at the end of the race following an on-track altercation. That was due to end on August 29.

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