DAYTONA BEACH — Speculation about a mellow Tony Stewart resurfacing this season has been greatly exaggerated.
Stewart lived up to his nickname — "Smoke" — when he threw a temper-tantrum after he was black-flagged by NASCAR for failing to weigh in during practice for Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR ordered Stewart, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin to return to the garage to be weighed just after the start of practice. All complied — except Stewart. NASCAR then black-flagged Stewart and ordered him, along with crew chief Chad Johnston, to report to the NASCAR hauler. That is NASCAR's version of the principal's office.
"Well NASCAR felt compelled to make me the first to be called to the trailer 10 min into the first practice of the year. #greatstart #NASCAR," Stewart tweeted.
Later on, after the first of two practice sessions on Friday, Stewart — when asked to elaborate on the incident by SB Nation, said: "Go [bleeping] ask [NASCAR]. Go ask those [bleeping] rocket scientists why they [bleeping] black-flagged us."
NASCAR requires all drivers to weigh in to help officials level the weight of the cars so that heavier drivers, including Stewart, are not at a disadvantage.
NASCAR's Super Bowl starts season
Clint Bowyer, 2012 Sprint Cup runner-up, explains why they call the Daytona 500 "The Super Bowl" of NASCAR:
"It's just a weird weekend because it's our kickoff to the season, so everybody is excited and it's the first day of school. But, oh, by the way, it's the biggest day of school. The most prestige is on the line with the very first crack at racing for the year. It is very, very hard to balance all that. You want to get the year started off on the right foot. You want to get the year started off with a Daytona 500 win."
Enfinger takes ARCA
Grant Enfinger is the king of ARCA in Daytona.
Enfinger won his second consecutive ARCA Series season-opening race, dominating Saturday's Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway.
Enfinger, from Fairhope, Ala., took the lead at the halfway point of the 80-lap race and never looked back.
"It's an incredible feeling," Enfinger told reporters after the race. "A few weeks ago there was a lot of uncertainty. I didn't know when I was going to get back in a car. … I can't say enough about GMS racing and this opportunity they gave me. We're going to savor this one for a while."
Daniel Suarez, an Xfinity Series rookie from Mexico who will compete for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished second.
"I was trying to pass the 23 car in the last couple laps, but I just didn't know how to make that pass," he said. "I'm not sure exactly what I did, but I'm happy with a second place."
Dedicated fan honored
Longtime fan Robert Burton from Altamonte Springs, Fla., was selected by Daytona International Speedway and Sprint to serve as the grand marshal for the Sprint Unlimited.
Burton gave the command, "Drivers, start your engines." Burton's selection is part of a giving-back-to-the-fans initiative for Daytona International and Sprint. Burton has been attending the Sprint Unlimited since 1989 and has seats in Sprint Tower.