Team Chevy’s Tony Stewart has announced he will return to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition this weekend following the tragic death of fellow racer Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart has sat out the past three rounds of the NASCAR season after Ward was hit by Stewart’s sprint car during a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York earlier this month.
“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,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President said in a prepared statement. “NASCAR has remained in constant contact with his race team, and we will stay very close to this situation as Stewart returns to competition.”
The night of the incident, Stewart’s and Ward’s cars bumped, sending Ward into the wall and damaging his car. Ward then walked out onto the track to try to confront Stewart, who was still in his car, when he was struck by the back right tire. Local law enforcement officials said they will be investigating the incident for another two weeks.
Stewart appeared visibly shaken during his press conference today, when he revealed he would race at Atlanta in the Oral-B USA 500 when it kicks off on Sunday at 7:30 pm. His full remarks, including his address to Ward’s mother, father and sisters, can be heard in the video below.