Tony Stewart will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500.
Stewart has missed three NASCAR Sprint Cup races after being involved in the August 9 fatal sprint car accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York that claimed the life of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr.
The accident occurred after an on track racing incident between Stewart and Ward after which Ward got out of his car, walked onto the track amid the oncoming cars and was struck by Stewart’s car.
The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting an investigation into the accident and no charges have been filed to date.
Stewart issued a brief written statement on August 10 following the accident, stating, “There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
He has not spoken publicly since the accident but is scheduled to meet with the media Friday at 1 p,m. ET at the track in Atlanta.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, released the following statement concerning Stewart’s return to racing.
“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.”
NASCAR President Mike Helton will participate in a media availability in the Atlanta Motor Speedway media center on Friday at 2 p.m. ET. NASCAR will have no further comment until that time.
This availability will be streamed live on www.nascar.com/presspass. A transcript will be available approximately one hour after the availability.