July 11, 2004. That was the date of the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. NASCAR Hall of Famer and Stewart-Haas Racing owner Tony Stewart would end up coming away with the victory, racking up his first win of the 2004 Cup Series season and the 18th of his career. But, like with many moments in Stewart’s NASCAR career, the win at the Joliet, Illinois track didn’t come without a little bit of controversy.
Following a restart on lap 127, Stewart made contact with Kasey Kahne, who was the leader at the time, and caused a six-car pileup, taking out Kahne as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney, Scott Riggs, and John Andretti.
Needless to say, Kahne’s whole crew was pretty heated after the wreck, and after exchanging some words with Stewart’s team on pit road, the two crews got themselves into a little bit of a scuffle.
Following the incident, Ray Evernham, team owner of Evernham Motorsports, which Kahne raced for at the time, had some strong words for Stewart.
“He definitely needs to get suspended, and he should have his ass beat,” Evernham said. “That’s the problem with him. Nobody has ever really grabbed him and given him a good beating. If he doesn’t get suspended, maybe I’ll do that.
“I just can’t believe that nothing has been done about it. Does someone have to get hurt? Is that what it’s going to take?”
As you probably know, the controversial Chicagoland race wasn’t be the first time Stewart got under someone’s skin, and it DEFINITELY wouldn’t be the last.
This post was originally published on June 27, 2019.