Tony Stewart's big win in Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway tainted by post-race inspection

Tony Stewart takes checkered flag at Coke Zero 400 Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images / Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, crosses the finish line ahead of Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet, to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.

DAYTONA BEACH -- The team of Coke Zero 400 winner Tont Stewart was fined and had race points taken away in the wake of rules violations at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart's qualifying time for Saturday's big race win was disallowed after officials discovered an unapproved open vent hose inside of his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet in a post-qualifying inspection.

Though Stewart posted his third victory of the season, his team was docked six championship points Tuesday. A corresponding six-point penalty was also issued to Margaret Haas, the No. 14's car owner of record. Steve Addington, Stewart's crew chief, was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 22 for the infraction. NASCAR also placed car chief Jeff Meendering on probation until Aug. 22.

Stewart's team leader denied any rules violations were done on purpose.

"While we respect and accept NASCAR's decision, we want to be clear that there was no malicious intent," said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart-Haas' competition director. "In a rush to replace a cracked rear windshield that happened during tech inspection prior to qualifying, we jostled a cooling hose that was behind the seat. We understand NASCAR's position and will abide by its decision."

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via HeadlineSurfer.com, launched in 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among Florida's most experienced reporters specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting and winner of multiple state, regional & national journalism awards in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut. The first of his three books, "Creepy Ass Cracker" (842 pages, Xlibris), hits bookstores this Fall. 
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