Tony Stewart confronted an off-duty deputy on Friday night at the Chili Bowl Nationals.
In videos released online, Stewart can be seen approaching a fan and placing his hands on him. The fan has been identified as off-duty deputy Kyle Hess. Reports say that Hess hurled insults at Stewart and allegedly flipped Stewart off leading the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion to confront him in the stands.
Hess has made social media videos in which he said he did not like Stewart. Once in the stands Stewart and Hess are locked in on one another’s hands before Hess appears to push Stewart away. Hess then either falls into his seat or is knocked into it after another man intervenes.
The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl nationals is a national event which attracts midget cars to the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, OK. Hess is being investigated for his conduct and was under the influence of alcohol according to Dennis Larson, a Tulsa deputy police chief and Expo Square liaison officer. Hess was escorted away from the event following the incident.
“From what I was told, Tony stated to [Hess], ‘What’s your problem with me?'” Larson said. “At some point their hands were locked together. The fan pushed toward Tony; Tony stepped back, and a security guard basically stepped between the two and just made a motion and the fan, who had consumed a lot of alcohol, sat down.”
Stewart was at the event to help oversee track maintenance. He is a two time winner of the event claiming victories in 2002 and 2007. Stewart will retire from Sprint Cup Series racing at the end of the 2016 season.