Tony Stewart’s return to the track has ended only a little over halfway through his race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Speaking quietly and his voice trembling, NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart said Friday that the death of Kevin Ward Jr. will “affect my life forever” as he returned to the track for the first time since his car struck and killed the fellow driver during a sprint-car race in New York three weeks ago.
Stewart will return to Sprint Cup competition Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, ending a three-race hiatus after his car struck and killed a fellow driver during a dirt-track race.
To get Darlington back to Labor Day weekend after an 11-year absence, Atlanta Motor Speedway gave up the date. Atlanta now goes to the second race of the season on March 1.
Logano became the fifth driver this season to win three times, joining the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Brad Keselowski, who finished second.
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.
Gordon broke the track qualifying record Friday when he took the pole at 206.558 mph. He followed that up with his third Cup victory at MIS.
NASCAR added a rule Friday ordering drivers to not approach the track or moving cars after accidents. The announcement comes less than a week after a driver was struck and killed during a dirt-track race in New York.
Jeff Burton will drive Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet in Michigan. Stewart also sat out Sunday at Watkins Glen, a day after he struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car event in Canandaigua, New York.
Kevin Ward Jr.’s casket, decorated with orange and white flowers, was carried into South Lewis Senior High School about an hour before services were to begin. Ward, a 2012 graduate, lived in nearby Port Leyden, N.Y.
The father of the 20-year-old race car driver who was struck and killed Saturday by Tony Stewart is demanding answers.
The NASCAR star could be charged with second-degree manslaughter under New York law if prosecutors believe he “recklessly caused the death of another person,” with negligent homicide another possibility, according to criminal law professor Corey Rayburn Yung of the Kansas University School of Law.