- David Newton, ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR came down heavy on Tuesday with penalties on defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Nationwide Series championship contender Austin Dillon for violations discovered last weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
Stewart was docked six championship points for failing post-qualifying inspection for Saturday's Sprint Cup race. He qualified second, but that was disqualified after NASCAR discovered an illegal cooling hose during post-qualifying inspection.
Stewart started 42nd, then went on to win for the third time this season and improve four spots to fifth in the standings.
"While we respect and accept NASCAR's decision, we want to be clear that there was no malicious intent," said Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli in a statement. "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."
In addition to the points penalty, crew chief Steve Addington was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 22. Car chief Jeff Meendering also was placed on probation until Aug. 22.
In the Nationwide Series, Dillon was docked six points for a post-qualifying infraction. Crew chief Danny Stockman and car chief Robert Strmiska were suspended until July 25 for violating the terms of their probation.
Stockman also was fined $10,000.
Stockman and Strmiska were placed on probation through Dec. 31 on May 1 for rules violations committed at Richmond.
The points penalty dropped Dillon from two to eight behind Nationwide leader Elliott Sadler.
Dillon's pole-winning effort for Friday's race was disqualified after the governing body found an open cooling hose in the cockpit. The incident came a week after Dillon was docked six championship points because his car failed post-race height requirements.
Also, Joey Logano's No. 18 team was docked six owner points because the team had height issues on the left front during post-race inspection. In addition, crew chief Adam Stevens was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 22.
NASCAR came down heavy on Tuesday with penalties on defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Nationwide Series championship contender Austin Dillon for violations discovered last weekend at Daytona International Speedway.