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Stewart expects fine from USAC for role in 'altercation'

7/25/2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart expects to be fined by the U.S. Auto Club for an "altercation" with an official during Thursday night's race at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

The incident occurred after points leader Tracy Hines, who drives for one of Stewart's two National Midget teams, got into the wall and there wasn't a track official or push truck present to help get the car back in the race.

Hines' crew reportedly attempted to change a right rear flat and get him back into the race before another restart. As the crew pushed the car to the front of the straightaway, a USAC official indicated it was too late.

Stewart then came down to pit lane to get an explanation for the call. He reportedly knocked the headset from the official's head and then shoved him.

"We had an altercation," Stewart said Friday after unveiling the car number (14) and sponsors (Office Depot and Old Spice) he'll showcase for Stewart-Haas Racing next season. "It was a situation [where] we didn't understand a call they made."

In a statement Friday, USAC official Kevin Miller acknowledged that there was an incident but would not say who was involved.

"A review of the incident will be conducted Monday morning among USAC officials and staff," Miller said in a statement. "At that time an official USAC response will be released."

Stewart said the incident ultimately could cost Hines, who finished 22nd, the USAC crown. He also admitted if he had to do it over again he wouldn't have confronted the official.

"When you're sitting there and you've got your corporate sponsors there and you've got a car on the racetrack and it's sitting on pit lane and they can't get a push truck to it, you're supporting your guys and your team that worked on that car to get it back out," he said.

"There was definitely a disagreement. We talked about it after it happened and after the race was over. It got their eyes open and they're doing everything they can to make sure incidents like that don't happen again."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.