Tony Stewart Will Return to Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway

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 A transcript will be available approximately one hour after the availability.





The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Angela Campbell
Angela Campbell
A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela (Angie) was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing. Angie is also an award-winning member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Follow her on Twitter @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.


  1. Ashley if what you say is true, then I can forsee a day that as cars are being made legal to race through their claw inspection, the driver will be in a room with the “shrink of the day” seeing if they are emotionally stable. They seem to want that kind of control.

    • I agree with Ashley that this is probably the same type of procedure that all drivers go through if they miss a race. Although this is a unique situation, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to question a driver’s mental health the same way they would with medical issues. But by issuing Stewart a waiver to let him compete in the Chase if he can earn a spot, it does set a precedent. I’m sure they will handle each situation on a case by case basis but it will be interesting to watch how it’s handled in the future.

  2. The mouth at the top of NA$CAR said in his news conference that Tony Stewart was cleared and reinstated. He was never suspended. What business is it of theirs about something that happened at another track?

    If a chase qualified driver had a medical emergency with his wife and skipped Atlanta or Richmond would he be cleared in the same nature that Tony is, and have to be reinstated?

    Too much power and talk from these jerks.

    • Because of the emotions involved in the situation, they probably felt that it’d be best to be sure that Stewart was “emotionally stable” before allowing him to return to the track. It is their duty in looking out for their fellow competitors. NASCAR also added that this is the same procedure that they follow with any driver who has missed races.

      As for your second question, probably not because there wouldn’t be questions about the “emotions” of themselves and whether they are prepared enough to run the race.


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