The McPhillips Racing Top Alcohol Dragster driven by class points leader Tony Stewart was disqualified from the Betway Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway Saturday after unapproved ignition parts were found during a post-run inspection, the NHRA said in a prepared statement.
Due to the disqualification, Stewart will receive no points for the event, per the NHRA rulebook.
“McPhillips Racing prides itself in being honorable in all of our racing competition,” the team said in a prepared statement. “Prior to Tony (Stewart’s) Round 1 of eliminations at the Carolina Nationals, NHRA confiscated the magnetos on Tony’s Top Alcohol dragster. It was brought to our attention that the magnetos, which we had purchased used from another team, were found to not be within NHRA’s tolerance. The part had been unknowingly modified prior to us purchasing it. The part is not required to be certified in our Top Alcohol category.
“We regret that Tony was unable to compete in the Carolina Nationals due to this violation. The team is solely owned by McPhillips and Tony has no say in the purchase of parts. McPhillips Racing accepts full responsibility and going forward, we will be more vigilant in inspecting and testing used parts that we purchase.”
Stewart grabbed the points lead less than a week ago at Maple Grove Raceway, near Reading, Pa., with a victory over Madison Payne. He had a 64-point advantage over Julie Nataas entering the zMAX Dragway event.
After the second round of qualifying Friday night, Stewart was fourth quickest with a 5.256-second E.T., 271.02 mph. Nataas was the No. 1 qualifier at an E.T. of 5.124 seconds, 277.37 mph. Saturday morning’s third qualifying round was canceled due to rain from Topical Storm Ophelia. Eliminations began Saturday afternoon before heavy rain began during the final round of qualifying for the professional classes.
In the Indiana native’s first full season racing in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster class, Stewart has recorded two national and two divisional event victories. The race at zMAX Dragway is a national event. Three more national events remain on the schedule. They are Oct. 12-15 in Ennis, Texas, Oct. 26-29 in Las Vegas and Nov. 9-12 in Pomona, Calif.