Race Weekend Central

Fire on Fridays: NASCAR Should Be Alarmed by Tony Stewart’s Comments

The past few weeks have not been good to Stewart-Haas Racing.

First, Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 team was hit with an L2 penalty following the race at Talladega Superspeedway; the penalty resulted in a 100-point deduction in both driver and owner standings, as well as crew chief Rodney Childers incurring a $100,000 fine and four-race suspension.

However, the exact infraction is not known to fans, drivers, or even the team. With Harvick speaking out about the safety of the Next Gen car over the past few weeks, some are taking the penalty as a means of retaliation on Harvick.

Just one week later, Cole Custer’s No. 41 team was docked 50 driver and owner points, while both he and his crew chief, Mike Shiplett, were fined $100,000, with Shiplett suspended indefinitely, for manipulating the end of the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL race. Custer seemingly brake-checked Austin Dillon and Erik Jones in an effort to get teammate Chase Briscoe additional points to advance into the Round of 8.

The move worked, but NASCAR immediately said it would investigate the actions of the No. 41 team. The damning evidence came from the No. 41 radio, when Shiplett told Custer that he needed to check up due to “a flat tire.”

See also
2-Headed Monster: Does Cole Custer's Penalty Fit the Crime?

So let’s do some quick math here. Two SHR teams have lost a combined 150 driver and owner points, accumulated $300,000 in fines and have two crew chiefs who will probably not return to the track until Phoenix Raceway at the earliest.

You can only imagine how the bossman feels about this situation.

After initially appealing both penalties, the team dropped the Harvick appeal. That’s when Tony Stewart sounded off to the Associated Press about the situation.

“I’m not going to talk about it,” Stewart said. “I’m so mad at NASCAR, I’m not going to talk about it. Super glad I’m going drag racing this weekend. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve got a couple appearances that I have to make, I wouldn’t be in another NASCAR race the rest of the year. I wouldn’t waste my time.”

Oh, boy.

If I’m NASCAR, I’m sounding alarm bells at these comments. This is a team owner — a championship-winning team owner, no less, who is also one of the most successful drivers in recent NASCAR history — who is so frustrated with the last few weeks that he wouldn’t even attend the rest of the races if he had the choice.

Stewart’s statement wouldn’t really hold as much weight if it weren’t for the fact that he owns an NHRA team and stated in that same article that he has had a lot more fun in the NHRA atmosphere than NASCAR.

Along with this, Stewart has put out tweets that have mentioned looking for new hobbies that aren’t Southeast-based:

Regardless of whether or not Custer’s penalty was justified, if a team owner is this upset with NASCAR right now, it should cause concern within the higher executives of NASCAR. While it’s highly unlikely that Stewart will straight up shut down his team (co-owner Gene Haas might have something to say about that), there’s still a possibility that the Hall of Famer could sell his share of the team and leave the sport entirely to focus on NHRA.

In fact, both Stewart and Haas have their own projects to focus on — Stewart has the NHRA AND the SRX program, but Haas also could redirect his efforts toward his Formula 1 program. The effects of a team like SHR either shutting down or losing its majority owner could completely change the landscape of the Cup Series.

Stewart has never been a person to shy away from a bold statement, as both a driver and an owner. So if he’s as mad at NASCAR as he says he is, he could be one more wrongdoing away from pulling himself out of the sport entirely — and feeling good about it.

In the midst of everything that NASCAR has had to deal with the last few weeks — the safety of the Next Gen car, the next media deal, outraged drivers/teams and several instances of disrespectful/manipulative driving — an upset owner who has noticeably distanced himself to focus on other projects is the last thing NASCAR needs on its plate right now.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is currently pursuing a master's degree. He is a theatre actor and fight choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I use to be a die hard Nascar fan. I started reading nascar magazines in the 60’s before there was TV coverage. Every since Nascar decided to stop letting people bring coolers(which they resented to late) the sport has gone straight down the toilet. Today and for some years, I only watch Nascar if it is the only thing on TV and today if I happen to be watching I am searching for anything else. The sport is dull and over regulated!!! Nascar officials have killed the sport to a point there may be no recovery, just look at the stands on race day, Nascar can’t give away tickets for free!


Sorry dude but your misinformed and not looking at the stands. They are pretty full. We attend regularly. Sorry pops. Just saying.


I don’t blame him for making the decision to say what he thinks we have that right to speak out but Nascar thinks that they have control over everyone all of the time teams that they want to win should never be judged by their rules and penalty points are very important for all teams yes Nascar has went and destroyed racing as a hold there ways of thinking and decision making has destroyed the sport that so many of us love make me have no interest in watching it let alone supporting it I have no intention to ever supporting them for being so stupid they act like the democrats party changing thing for money regardless what it means to us


I have been a Nascar fan for many years. So much as to send my son to Nascar Tec. after high school. After he graduated he was so discussed with the way Nascar would change the rules from race to race. He left Nascar and will not return. I understand why SHR is so discussed. I don’t go to races or make an effort to even watch races anymore. Nascar has turn it’s back on what made it great. Nascar of the past would not cater to a bunch of cry baby kid’s. MAN UP or go back to your go carts.




Nascar can be a acronym for many things, but racing should not be one of them. Racing should be a crown jewel of imagination and technology not some BS game of points and stupid rules that take away the meaning of the word racing. A stock car ??? Well back in the day a team could build up a car and go racing. All that matters is who is the best. The fastest and manages to stay alive. Nascar does nothing but stagnate innovation and prevent people who just want to race from doing so. Let’s all get back to the real spirit of racing, and tell Nascar to screw.


One down vote from some one who clearly doesn’t understand NASCARs origins. We’ll put sir.


Screw Nascar dirt track racing is where it’s at


Drag racing is pretty kOoL too


Yes Sir you are right dirt is where it is.

Thomas G. Buchman II

I’m so glad my late father and I were able to enjoy the races together in the 70s and 80s. The Winston cup and grand nationals. If it were this decade. It would probably be enjoying watching the paint dry. As far as executives in the sport,Y’all have ruined this sport and run it in the ground.


So we all know how much money is placed into these teams. Why not rally the troops,get the teams and owners together along with the sponsors and the track owners and walk away from nascar. Start your own association of racing and run it the way it should be done. Let’s start using STOCK CARS WITH MODIFICATIONS. I bet it will outsell nascar any given day of the week.


Most of todays cars would be terrible stock cars…crumple zones for one…

Jonathan cook

If I was Tony I’d have a meeting with my drivers and tell them to wreck one or more of the final 4 at Phoenix ! Runin the race for nascar and give a victory for some other deserving team!


I remember the day we got a TV, and a Nascar race came on it. My dad was a fan of watching those races. As a kid I remember watching the 1st race I’d ever watched with him. I didn’t see them racing for the name Ford, Chevy, or any other brand name. As a child I seen them race as children. Children racing each other, trying to win. I didn’t enjoy the race. It was boring, and back then you didn’t have commercials, the commentators would just keep talking and the camera zoomed into the broadcast booth and they would give you names of products and businesses that were sponsoring the event. I didn’t watch Nascar after the 1st race I seen. And Sunday when dad turned on the race, I went outside for hours, or to my room until the race was over and something different on TV. I aways felt like Nascar was holding back. Hold back in terms of doing more or better. Sure the tracks are nicer now, and some new tracks as time went on. But has Nascar asked themselves, can the sport die, or fad away. The answer is yes, and what will cause it will be a few things, like no coolers aloud, and raising prices. I went to 1 bush race, when you could still byob. And I will say, I enjoyed it, but even then things I didn’t enjoy was the walk from the vehicle I to the races, and I didn’t enjoy what I seen round me. One thing that would close Nascar would be IF beer wasn’t aloud. I see as children see things. And children want fun, excitement, and they want to be involved in whatever it is. Children are the future and children who aren’t interested in Nascar go another path. Other sports. I see Nascar as being the gateway drug to the future of racing. And what people want to see is no restriction plates, high speed racing. I for one don’t, because of drivers safety. But, what will help Nascar. Build 1 track for no restrictions. Safety walls for crashes that absorb the wreck, and that track will get more attendees then Daytona or any other track. Plus, it’s gonna show who’s the better driver, and it’ll show who’s teams car is built the best. Then it’s a 100% real race of car and driver. When those restriction plates come off, then the future of racing begins. It has come down to money for Nascar to make more. If earth stopped turning, Nascar would be no more. But never ever think a driver or many teams pulling out will stop Nascar. To many poor people who’d race there 1985 Buick, Ford, Chevy, ect. Rich people race Nascar. But poor people will race anything. Cause they enjoy racing, win or lose. Nascar now, it has more commercial time, then actual race time. 60 seconds of racing, then a 3min commercial. Booggiedy booggiedy let’s go racing again, and 60 seconds after a commercial were going back to commercial. I remember when a commercial didn’t happen when a wreck happened. You got to watch the ambulance rush out, even watch the pace car for several laps. Now, it’s 3hrs of commercial and 48 mins of racing. Racing isn’t fun, it dint matter who wins, what matters is, if the people you’re racing make it home safe and are back racing the next week. The time is coming when we ALL will miss so much. Weather it be Nascar, we miss or something else. Always remember in Nascar or work or anywhere. You’ll miss someone or something when it’s gone. why not do our best while it’s still here. Things change and not always for the better. But when a race member or family member or Nascar. When they are gone, all we have is what’s left. Memories, photos, and each other. My opinion, ask children what they want, what they like, what will be fun for them down the road. Not many will say racing, Nascar, or drag racing. Most won’t have an answer, they just don’t no what they want. Myself, as a child. Nascar didn’t have fun. It was all about racing. As an adult it’s all about what car wins, and the symbol on that car. Ford, Chevy, or whatever manufacturer. As children, they don’t see a name of Ford,Chevy, ect.they seem a person, they see a car. They are happy the race is over so they can go home to play. The children today, they want food, they want fun. And more and more youth are getting into crime. This isn’t just caused by where they live or friends. It’s caused by parents not being in their children’s lives more. If you do one thing today. Turn the race off, and spend time with your children. Find out what’s fun to them and save a young man or woman from getting wrapped up in violence and crime. The children turn to these things when it feels exciting to them. Take your kid to a place they can be wild and free, cause that’s what makes them happy. Nascar is a great sport, and has helped many children. But what is Nascar NOT doing to keep children interested? Well, they aren’t focused on children as much as profits and that’s a mistake on their part. Never forget where you came from, cause you are never any better then it. And most of all, reach out to your children and tell them you love them, and go enjoy some fun together. Life’s to short, just moments.. yet, we spend a lifetime on it. When you’re gone, its the children left here to continue on. And children are the future. I hope my message is simple, cause it’s not short. If anything yet nothing else, enjoy the day with your children and have fun. At least it’ll be a memory that lasts.

Andrew Lewellyn

I understand what you are tryin to say but dang man you were too long winded. I can only read so much. If i wanna read a book ill go get one.


I agree with all these comments. NASCAR has gone down the toilet. Let them race!

NASCAR fan since 1969

Good for Tony. I seldom watch NASCAR anymore except for the occasional truck race. Since my first race at Michigan in 1969 and since Winston left the series, NASCAR’s attempts at promoting their racing is pathetic. It’s all about the almighty dollar and not about the quality of racing.
Look at today’s races. Fields used to be fixed at 43 cars every race with competitors not making the show; now they struggle to field 36 cars, even with multiple team cars.
Then there’s the 3 stage racing fraud. This artificial bunch of BS only reduces the amount of actual racing because of the stage breaks and laps forced to be run under yellow flags.
Over the last two years I’ve found myself enjoying NHRA races, American Flat Track, Moto GP and Formula 1 (getting shaky on that one too) rather than NASCAR’s boring 4 hour shows. Advertisers need to bail out of this BS series.
The other thing that irritates me is that they have never learned what a black flag is for, other than some life-saving event. Punishing a driver on track for a serious act of retaliation, retribution or downright aggression/stupidity.
Adios NASCAR, I miss what you used to be. Today ain’t great.

Mojo Risin

NASCAR in the mid 90s and back was so awesome, especially to this NC kid. The year Kulwicki won is still the best year ever to me!
Then, Wilksboro goes, the Rockingham. Then the sponsors changes constantly. Then that horrible car of tomorrow.
It’s not that I wanted the sport to not grow, but why did it have to change it presentation and forget it’s roots for the sake of a few people? Not to mention all those idiotic rule changes and such….


I quit NASCAR Years ago, they’ve destroyed what it used to be…. Some of those guys should start a NEW “Racing” program, SCREW NASCAR !!!


Bottom line is, nascar Sucks since all the crap bill France jr took the seat at the top! He has TOTALLY WRECKED the sport since he brought in his “soap opera mentality” into the sport! The 1979 Datona 500 is what made a big turning point in nascar when Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough had a helmet flinging “discussion ” after wrecking so close to the finish line! They were “Allowed” to be passionate and real back then about their racing and let’s not forget about the “Creativity” they were, again, “Allowed” to have with their cars! Now it’s bill France jrs pathetic soap opera “drama” fines and BS Suspensions so he can pad his bank account and how about the “cookie cutter” cars? What a sorry mess it’s become! I was really enjoying watching Chase Elliott come up through the ranks and now he’s at the top and I have turned against NASCARs garbage and don’t watch. It’s really sad to think about the upcoming years and the decline in interest for that sport!
I’m with Tony Stewart on this. There’s no need to retaliate at him because they pulled the race at his track which was upsetting especially to Tony! Now because he had something to say about it there toying with the team of Stewart Haas! Bad move bill Junior! I believe that he is trying to kill what Bill France Sr. created! If not, he’s doing a good job of it!
I personally, won’t watch it at all anymore because of Stupid decisions by the unthinking folks “dick-tating” the “rules”! I still pull for Chase Elliot though, and I pray he has a great and successful career in the New Command Zoo! Go Chase!! Go Hendricks/Gordon Motor Sports! I could be wrong about Hendricks/ Gordon! I heard there were talks the last part of my interest in nascar


Tony Stewart is a dick

Lee Dozier

300,000 just from two teams in 2 weeks just follow the money trail

Dave Johnson

Nascar is / has been a joke for many years.


Not About Safety, Cares About Revenue


Nascar died when big E passed away

Share via