Published on August 28th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith0
Stewart Set To Return At Atlanta
Tony Stewart will return to Sprint Cup Series competition for the first time since the incident that took the life of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart will race in the Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In a statement, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said:
Tony Stewart has received all necessary clearances required to return to all racing activities, and therefore is eligible to compete this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR has remained in constant contact with his race team, and we will stay very close to this situation as Stewart returns to competition.
Stewart was involved in the incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Ontario County, New York.
During the race, Stewart squeezed Ward up into the wall, which resulted in Ward getting a flat tire. Ward exited his car and walked down the track to confront Stewart, as Stewart continued around the track under caution.
Ward began pointing at Stewart when he was hit by Stewart’s car, run over and thrown a few yards down the track. He was taken to Thompson Health and was pronounced dead on arrival.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Stewart missed the last three Cup races. Regan Smith and Jeff Burton have filled in for him.
Stewart is currently 26th in points, 161 point ahead of 30th-place David Gilliland, the cutoff point to qualify for the Chase.
To be eligible for the Chase, a driver must attempt to qualify for all 26 events leading up to the Chase, and be in the top 30 in points. But, in race cases, a the requirement can be waived, as long as the driver is in the top 30.