Tony Stewart has released the following statement regarding the disqualification of five drivers during the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car feature on Sunday, August 25 at Pennsylvania’s BAPS Motor Speedway.
“On Sunday night at BAPS Motor Speedway, the All Star Circuit of Champions disqualified five teams and drivers from the feature event due to their crews leaving the designated work area in the infield of the track. This is stated in our rule book and the designated work area was communicated to the drivers at the driver’s meeting. Our officials called the rules violations accurately.
“With that said, I acknowledge that the punishment of disqualification does not fit the wrongdoing by the teams. The intent of the rule is, not only for the safety of the crew members, but also to provide a level playing field for all teams while in the infield. On Sunday night, Track and Series officials both determined that a designated area was required for crew members to keep them safe and away from certain areas of the infield.
“I assure each and every track owner, promoter, team owner, driver, crew member and most importantly the loyal fans that support their drivers and tracks, that this will never happen again. We will not put ourselves in a position to have to monitor the designated work area. In the instances that our teams are parked outside the track, the work area will remain outside the track unless the track designates it elsewhere. Any disqualification will be reserved for only those violations that warrant such a response.
“I was a participant in this race for the third straight year and as a driver I was upset that I didn’t get to race against the cars that were disqualified. I won the All Star race at BAPS Speedway last year and it one of the biggest races that I have ever won for one reason: I came to Pennsylvania and beat the best in the sport. Coming to Pennsylvania is important for me and for my Series; it’s the toughest racing in the country. When you win in Pennsylvania, you know you beat the best.
“I have reached out to each of the teams that were disqualified on Sunday night and had meaningful discussions with each of them. Each team and driver have committed to supporting the All Stars beginning next weekend at Port Royal for the Night Before the 50 and the 52nd Annual Tuscarora 50, Williams Grove on September 20th and the Dirt Classic at Lincoln Speedway on September 21st.
“I would like to publicly support my Series Director, Eric Walls. Eric is fair and consistent to each and every team that races with us regardless of their tenure, number of wins or resume. Eric did his job on Sunday night and he will do so again beginning this weekend in Ohio. I have the utmost respect and confidence in Eric. If anyone is to take the blame for the rule as it was written, that falls on me as the Series owner.
“Finally, it is important to note that my officials made the call Sunday night. BAPS Motor Speedway was not involved in the decision to disqualify the teams. Scott and Kolten do a great job at their facility and have invested their money and time to make their track a top facility in central Pennsylvania. I ask that you do not hold them accountable on any level and support them as you have in the past. I extend this ask of support to all tracks in central PA. There are a number of high purse paying shows remaining in Pennsylvania over the next two months. These tracks cannot pay out purses of this magnitude without the support of the fans.
“I am truly sorry for the impact this has caused on the fans, teams, drivers, BAPS Motor Speedway and their partners including the Snyder family and BAPS Paints, and our Series partners, including Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Mobil 1.” – Tony Stewart