NHRA’s Ned Walliser, Vice President of Competition, elaborated as much as the race series was willing to regarding the part that got motorsports icon Tony Stewart disqualified from the Betway Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Essentially, the magneto is one of the parts that NHRA doesn’t allow any changes to the stock configuration without the series’ approval in advance. 

“It has to be approved, manufacturer parts only,” Walliser confirmed, “And this had unapproved parts in the magneto.

“And those parts, anything in the magneto, has to be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions. That’s installation instructions. It just can’t have anything that’s not approved by the manufacturer.”

Walliser confirmed the confiscated parts did just that.

Whether the “illegal” part provided a performance advantage remains to be seen, as NHRA confirmed once the alterations were discovered, grounds for disqualification came into play.

In a statement provided by McPhillips Racing, they confirmed the part in question was purchased from another team.

“McPhillips Racing prides itself in being honorable in all of our racing competition. 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.” 

NHRA confirmed that the technical department performs inspections randomly with multiple classes and cars at every event.