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. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Headline Surfer® Publisher Henry Frederick, is recognized as one of Florida's top award-winning cops & courts reporters, who has received more awards for such coverage than any other reporter working in Central Florida. He's the top journalist in the Florida Press Club two years running with seven journalism awards for 15 breaking news and investigative stories, three blogs and top internet site. He's the only reporter to win awards for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying as well as the subsequent George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford. He's also won state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage of cops and courts fear 8 1/2 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where he witnessed and reported on the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos and covered the civil trial brought by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed. Before that before he covered cops & courts for Gannett Suburban Newspapers / The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, where he won a highly-coveted Associated Press Award for breaking news. Before launching the 24/7 internet newspaper in 2008, he was an award-winning city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette, in his native Massachusetts for two years, winning a national investigative award on municipal corruption. The first of Frederick's three books, for which he has secured publishing rights, is called "Creepy Ass Cracker" (840 pages, Xlibris), which will hit bookstores in September. His second book, "Wrestling ReWind," is expected to be published in January 2015. The third book is not yet titled.
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