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Tony Stewart skips third race after Ward's death

Stewart To Sit Out Sprint Cup Race At Bristol

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Tony Stewart will not race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, the third Sprint Cup race he's skipped since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race.

Stewart's decision was announced Wednesday and Jeff Burton will once again replace him in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Burton also drove Stewart's car at Michigan last weekend.

Stewart-Haas Racing is allowing Stewart to take the time he needs away from the track, and the team statement indicated the three-time NASCAR champion is taking it week-by-week. Stewart will not have to decide on another race until the Aug. 31 event at Atlanta.

Stewart has been in seclusion since the Aug. 9 incident at an upstate New York dirt track. He has not commented since he issued a statement the day after Ward's death.

Stewart also pulled out of the race at Watkins Glen, which began about 12 hours after his car hit Ward at event in Canandaigua, New York. Ward's car had spun into a wall as he and Stewart raced for position, and the 20-year-old climbed out to confront Stewart.

Authorities said the first car to pass Ward had to swerve to miss hitting the driver, who was gesturing toward the NASCAR star. The front of Stewart's car then appeared to clear Ward, but Ward was struck by the right rear tire and hurtled through the air.

Ward died of blunt force trauma, and authorities are still investigating the incident. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero has said investigators did not have any evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart, but the investigation is expected to last at least another week. Povero said this week were no new updates.

None of Stewart's peers has spoken to the driver since the accident. But they've come to his defense, with six-time champion Jimmie Johnson saying nothing he's seen has convinced him that Ward's death was anything but a tragic accident.

Kevin Harvick, a longtime friend of Stewart's and his teammate at SHR, also bristled at the negative portrayal of Stewart since Ward's death.

"I've known Tony Stewart for a long time ... I know for sure that Tony Stewart is not going to run over somebody," Harvick said. "I don't think there's anybody in this garage that would. It would be hard to find somebody in the racing world that could point that car, just run somebody over."

NASCAR last week announced a rule that prohibits drivers from exiting from a crashed or disabled vehicle - unless it is on fire - until safety personnel arrive.

Stewart has 48 career Cup wins in 542 starts. He has one career win at Bristol, in 2001.

Burton made just his third start of the season last week. The 21-time Sprint Cup winner parted ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season and is transitioning into an analyst for NBC. Burton won at Bristol in 2008 and has 15 top-10 finishes in 40 career starts.

Join the discussion

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carlrpetersen August 21 2014 at 11:04 AM

I have been a NASCAR fan for more than 25 years. I hate that the punishment for being stupid is death, but when Kevin Ward got out of his car, on a dirt track, at night, with cars still on the track, what did he think could happen. Now a great, respected driver, Tony Stewart has to live with it. This is a shame. I feel worse for Tony, who did nothing wrong, than I do for Ward's family. His stupidity caused all of this.

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shjhsh August 21 2014 at 1:36 PM

Let's hope he stays out of a race car forever so he does
not kill anyone else scumbag.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
carlrpetersen shjhsh August 21 2014 at 4:15 PM

obviously your iq is somewhere around your
waist size dumbass. Tony Stewart is a 3-time
champion, respected by all in the sport, and because of some ignorant kid, he has to carry this around for the rest of his life.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
morrell August 21 2014 at 9:54 AM

tony, we love you, watching you race has added so much fun and excitement to our life, thank yoy

Flag Reply +1 rate up
topazlisa August 21 2014 at 11:39 AM

Come back when you can Tony, hope it's soon.

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misterpatent August 21 2014 at 11:18 AM

Tony needs to get off his butt and stop crying in his beer. He did nothing wrong and all he's doing now is depriving his fans and sponsors. Screw being politically correct, stand up for what is right. Tony should sue the ward family for loss of income and defamation.

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1 reply
cqdeed misterpatent August 21 2014 at 12:55 PM

Never killed anyone, have you? It can be a very tramatic event for anyone who does. Many times it is so life-changing that the person never gets over it for the rest of their life.

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Sandra Jean August 21 2014 at 12:49 PM

You've got a great group of people working with you Tony. It's time to start closure, they need it as much as you do. Please take into consideration that only when you start to heal, they will then start to heal.

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LOU August 21 2014 at 2:47 PM

look only person that knows what happen is tony and it looks like tony being tony maybe be time to hang it up and go off into the sunset the law suits will cost him millions plus he will lose sponsers its a shame

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