Tony Stewart sitting out Michigan Sprint Cup race

Jeff Burton will drive Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet in the Pure Michigan 400
Associated Press
Aug 14, 2014

Tony Stewart will not race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, skipping a second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup race since striking and killing a driver in a dirt-track race at a small New York track.

Stewart announced the decision in a statement Thursday. His plans for the rest of the season have not been determined.

Jeff Burton will drive Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet in Michigan.

Stewart also sat out Sunday at Watkins Glen, a day after he struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car event in Canandaigua, New York. After Stewart clipped Ward's car, sending it spinning, Ward got out of the car during the caution period, walked down the track and was hit by Stewart.

Ward's funeral was Thursday in Boonville, New York. He died of blunt force trauma.

Stewart's dirt-racing career is on hold, and he could face criminal charges.

Stewart has not commented since he made a statement Sunday.

"There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.," Stewart said in the statement.

The three-time NASCAR champion is winless and 21st in the Cup standings this season. He would have needed a victory in one of the final four races to have a chance to become eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

It's not clear what sitting out does for Stewart's Chase chances. NASCAR rules says a driver must either qualify the car or race the car each weekend. NASCAR does have the power to grant a waiver.

Stewart has 48 career Cup wins in 542 starts.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that investigators don't have any evidence at this point to support criminal intent. The investigation could last another two weeks.

His sponsors have stayed with him as the investigation unfolds. Mobil 1 has served as the primary sponsor of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet for 19 of the 22 Sprint Cup Series races this season.

"The investigation continues, and we are monitoring the situation," ExxonMobil spokesman Christian Flathman said Thursday.

Regan Smith started for Stewart at Watkins Glen and finished 37th.

Burton made only two starts this season, the last coming in July at New Hampshire. The 21-time Sprint Cup winner parted ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season, and Ryan Newman replaced him at RCR. Burton works as an analyst for NBC.

Comments

gene44870

It's going to be a sad situation if Smoke can't and does not get back in the car . Prayers are with both drivers ..
Everyone knows that racing can be.dangrous and you need to use care and common sense when you are racing . With this being said I.believe it was an accident of ones own making . Everyone can tell yea that onless you car is on fire , stay with it . And if it is on fire . Get out as fast as you can and clear the track as fast as you can. I am wandering something. If charges are braught against smoke and he gets convicted . I would think his licends would be suspended . I am not sure what nascar would do if anything . I am pretty sure you have to have a licends to drive in nascar . If anyone knows the answer let me know.. If this is the case . This accident could be a career ender . And that would be sad .I always like smoke

DaMob

You don't need a licends to drive anywhere. But a license would be nice

wigglewagon

Yes it was a total accident anyone who thinks it wasn't is just stupid and these people trying to bring charges against him is crazy, it was a very unfortunate chain of events, racing is a very emotional and adrenaline filled sport hopefully tony can get over the trauma of killing somebody even though it was an accident that has to be tuff, and to answer your question no you don't have to have a drivers license

knowitall

Whew! That is one long sentence.

44846GWP

LOL! Thats what I thought! Maybe they should re-take english 101. lol!

thinkagain

“Thats” – That’s

“english” – English

Pot meet kettle. Now go get an education.

knowitall

Lol

danbury dad

I have been a dirt track fan all of my life and as a younger man raced at dirt tracks a few seasons, that being said Stewart tried to throw dirt on the young man as is evident by the way he turned his front wheels and revved the engine, and maybe he misjudged the distance. That is what is being investigated. No one believes Stewart hit him on purpose but his actions as well as the young mans caused this tragedy .I am as big of fan of Stewarts as anybody but he is not without blame here. Both share in the blame.

The Big Dog's back

I agree.

holysee

When your feet willingly carry your a$$ toward dangerous fast moving race cars, you are the only one to blame, period.

ryan5r

The kid jumped and grabbed Stewarts top wing. He then slipped and fell onto the rr tire pulling him down between the tire and nerf bar. The distance between the nerf bar and tire is about 6". Not enough room for a body to fit without damage. Stewart did
Nothing wrong including wrecking him. They never touched.