LONG POND, Pa. -- Tony Stewart has seen two of his Stewart-Haas Racing crew chiefs suspended for failing to have lug nuts tight after a race, but he's not regretting his comments that sparked the strict rule.
After Stewart said in April that teams were playing games with safety because NASCAR had refused to legislate whether lug nuts should be tight, he was fined $35,000 for the derogatory statements -- and NASCAR created what many believe is a harsh rule.
Any car that has a missing or loose lug nut after a race results in the crew chief receiving an automatic one-race suspension, a fine and probation for the rest of the year.
SHR's Kurt Busch won at Pocono in June despite his crew chief, Tony Gibson, serving a suspension from the Charlotte race, and teammate Kevin Harvick will not have crew chief Rodney Childers this weekend at Pocono because Harvick's car didn't have all of its lug nuts tight after Indy.
"It just means they made mistakes -- we had (tire) changers that made a mistake and didn't get all of them on there tight," Stewart said Thursday night at the track.
"It was definitely the right thing (to say). It's two separate deals. The fact they got a penalty because of it, I don't regret that at all. ... It's still the right thing to do. Do I regret (saying) that? Absolutely not." said Stewart, speaking after an appearance for Mobil 1.
"People are having five lug nuts on the cars now," Stewart added. "We don't have to worry about the drivers being unsafe, we don't have to worry about the fans being unsafe. We solved that problem.
"It's still up to every team's responsibility to make sure they have them on." While a suspended crew chief cannot be in credentialed areas at the track and cannot be on the team radio, NASCAR does not legislate how much communication teams can have with the suspended individual. Teams have been using FaceTime and other methods to communicate with those barred from the garage.
"Ah, he'll be here," Stewart said about Childers. "He just won't be here. He'll virtually be here."