Patrick Grieve
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Tony Stewart Asks Drivers Council to Donate $35,000 Raised for Fine to Autism Charity

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Team Chevy driver Tony Stewart is currently in the hospital after an ATV crash

Photo Credit: Gabe Taviano

Chevy driver Tony Stewart has a tendency to speak his mind, which is good for NASCAR fans—not just for the pure entertainment value of hearing Stewart’s unfiltered thoughts, but because sometimes it ends up helping out a good cause.

At least that’s what happened this time. After Stewart was fined for comments he made criticizing the safety of NASCAR, the Sprint Cup Drivers Council raised $35,000 to pay his fine. Stewart said thanks but no thanks to the 35 grand, asking the council to instead donate the funds to Autism Delaware.

“I appreciated the Drivers Council support, but I didn’t want them to pay the fine,” said Stewart. “We decided as a group to donate the money to charity.”

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Autism Delaware was founded in 1998 by Artie Kemper, the coordinating director NASCAR on FOX. Over the last two decades, Autism Delaware has raised over $5 million to help more than 1,000 children and adults living with autism.

“Artie is such a good friend to all of us and his foundation does a lot of great work,” Stewart added.

Although he ultimately chose to give the money away, Stewart said today at Talladega that he felt the Drivers Council had made a “huge statement” in offering it.

“I didn’t want to take their money,” Stewart said. “I appreciate their support and I think they made a huge statement as to what the drivers council is about and the fact they didn’t believe what I said deserved a fine.”

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The comments which earned Stewart the $35,000 fine were made Wednesday, and criticized NASCAR for not policing pit stops for missing lug nuts.

“I’m beyond mad, I’m P.O.’d at NASCAR about it,” Stewart said Wednesday. “For all the work and everything all the bulletins and all the new stuff we have to do to superspeedway cars and all these other things they want us to do for safety, we can’t even make sure we put five lug nuts on the wheel. This is not a game you play with safety and that’s exactly the way I feel like NASCAR is treating this. This is not the way to do this.”

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Patrick Grieve was born in Southwestern Ohio and has lived there all of his life, with the exception of a few years spent getting a Creative Writing degree in Southeastern Ohio. He loves to take road trips, sometimes to places as distant as Northeastern or even Northwestern Ohio. Patrick also enjoys old movies, shopping at thrift stores, going to ballgames, writing about those things, and watching Law & Order reruns. He just watches the original series, though, none of the spin-offs. And also only the ones they made before Jerry Orbach died. Season five was really the peak, in his opinion. See more articles by Patrick.