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Tony Stewart has spent plenty of time away from NASCAR in the last year with his NHRA team. This month, after the sanctioning body levied two major penalties for completely different reasons to two of the Stewart-Haas Racing teams, the three-time Cup Series champion was understandably unhappy and let it be known.

Last weekend in Florida, the NASCAR Hall of Famer was scheduled to give the command to start engines. It didn’t happen. This week, the string of bad news continued for SHR with a ruling against the organization from the National Motorsports Appeals Panel. 

Tony Stewart unhappy with NASCAR after pair of penalties

Earlier this month, during the postrace inspection at the R&D Center after the race at Talladega, NASCAR identified an illegally modified single-source supplier part on Kevin Harvick’s car. The penalty included a four-race suspension and a $100,000 fine for crew chief Rodney Childers and the loss of driver and owner points. 

Some fans suggested the infraction was only discovered because NASCAR targeted the veteran driver for a “random” inspection due to his pointed remarks directed at the sanctioning body over concerns about parts failures and, more importantly, safety issues with the Next Gen car

The level of cynicism from those fans increased exponentially a week later when the governing body handed Cole Custer a $100,000 fine and a loss of 50 points, plus a $100,00 fine and indefinite suspension of crew chief Michael Shiplett for manipulating the finish on the Charlotte Roval.  

The second penalty unsurprisingly triggered Stewart. 

“Looking for a new weekend hobby (something not south eastern based) if anyone has any ideas,” he tweeted. “Something low drama and relaxing preferably.”

Just over 24 hours later during an event at Texas Motor Speedway, the 51-year-old refused to discuss the penalties but spoke about the situation indirectly.

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

Stewart doesn’t perform drivers command as scheduled

Stewart was in Miami for last weekend’s race at Homestead. He attended a Q&A session with a couple of his drivers. According to NASCAR’s official race day itinerary, the team co-owner was scheduled to give the command to start the engines. He didn’t. Country music singer Kip Moore replaced him. 

“Saw this when looking up start times for today: Tony Stewart was originally supposed to be grand marshal for Homestead and give the command to fire engines,” Jeff Gluck of The Athletic tweeted. “However, country singer Kip Moore (who is doing a pre-race concert) will now give the command instead (announced Friday).”

Stewart’s “waste my time” comment likely didn’t sit well with NASCAR officials. But we’ll never know whether he opted out of giving the command or if the offer was rescinded. 

Won’t be happy with Custer appeal getting denied

This week Stewart’s feelings for the sanctioning body didn’t improve when it was announced that the National Motorsports Appeals Panel had denied the team’s appeal of the Custer penalty. The co-owner and fans held out hope that the appeal might be overturned based on multiple reversals this year by the panel.

SHR could appeal the decision to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer in accordance with the NASCAR Rule Book. That likely won’t happen and this latest decision is another reinforcing reason why Stewart might want to spend more time with the NHRA going forward. 

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