DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A senior NASCAR executive said that Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer will not be fined for their critical comments about Sunday’s Daytona 500 group qualifying.
Bowyer, upset after being collected in a crash with Reed Sorenson in the opening round of qualifying at Daytona International Speedway, said: “It’s NASCAR’s fault for putting us out in the middle of this crap for nothing. We used to come down here and worry about who would set on the front pole in the biggest race of the year. Now all we do is come down here and worry about how a start‑and‑park like this out of desperation is going to knock us out of the Daytona 500.’’
Stewart expressed his displeasure with the format on Twitter, stating: “Today use (sic) to be about showcasing the hard work from the teams over the winter. Now it a complete embarrassment for our series.’’
Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president, said the comments were fair game.
“I think what (NASCAR Chairman) Brian (France) has said is that you can take us on,” O’Donnell said. “We’re NASCAR, that’s part of our job. When I look at the comments that Clint made or Tony made, those are based on wanting to see the best racing out there. Certainly tough to hear but those are things we have got to have conversations with them and work with those guys to figure out if there is a better way to do it. We will do that. It’s not something we are going to fine the drivers for.’’