Tony Stewart to skip third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Detroit, MI, United States (4E Sports) – Tony Stewart will miss his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race as he perhaps has yet to mentally recover from the Aug. 9 incident that caused the death of driver Kevin Ward Jr.

The next Sprint Cup race is Aug. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The 20-year-old Ward was killed after he stepped out of his sprint car during a race in upstate New York and was struck by the right wheel of Stewart’s car, which hurtled Ward through the air.

Ward died of blunt force trauma and an investigation is ongoing.

According to a Stewart-Haas Racing statement, Stewart’s status continues to be week-to-week.

In a press conference Friday at Michigan, team officials said Stewart was “dealing with quite a bit of grief” and not ready to race. As for when Stewart would return, the team did not know but said the decision to return would be Stewart’s.

“It will be up to Tony when he’s ready to get back in the car,” SHR executive vice president Brett Frood said.

Stewart-Haas Racing appointed Jeff Burton to drive Stewart’s No. 14 car this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Burton filled in for Stewart last Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, while Regan Smith drove Aug. 10 at Watkins Glen International. Due to mechanical problems, Burton finished 37th at Michigan.

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