Tony Stewart's peers will pay the $35,000 fine NASCAR levied against the three-time champion for criticizing the series about a potential safety hazard during races.

The nine-member driver council said in a statement released by Denny Hamlin it agreed to equally pay the fine. Stewart is a member of the council, which was formed last year and its members are elected by all the drivers in the Sprint Cup Series.

The statement was first obtained late Thursday night by NBC Sports. In it, the group said it disagreed with the fine levied against Stewart earlier in the day for warning NASCAR that not policing lug nuts on pit road was a safety hazard.

Some teams are not applying all five lug nuts during tire changes for a faster pit stop. It's led to a rash of loose wheels the last two races.