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Tony Stewart won’t race in this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Tony's team Stewart-Hass Racing made the announcement on Thursday.
Stewart was involved in an accident during a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York last Saturday. He was driving the car that hit and killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. after Ward got out of his car and walked onto the track to confront Stewart. As a result of the accident, Stewart sat out last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. The decision not to race this weekend pertains only to this weekend’s race in Michigan according to a news release, USA Today reports. Jeff Burton will fill in for Stewart at Michigan.
"Tony Stewart has decided not to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn,” Stewart-Hass Racing said in its release. “Veteran driver Jeff Burton, a winner of 21 Sprint Cup races, will pilot the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in place of Stewart. This driver change pertains only to Michigan. Stewart's plans for upcoming Sprint Cup races have yet to be determined."
The investigation into the accident is still ongoing. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said on Tuesday that the investigation will last at least another two weeks. So far there are no facts that would result in criminal charges against Stewart.
Stewart has not had a good season this year. He has no wins and is 21st in points and would need to win one of the next four races to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Since he is sitting out the entire weekend, Stewart would have to have NASCAR waive the requirement that a driver must qualify or race in every race to be eligible for the Chase, according to Sporting News.
Burton, Stewart’s replacement for Michigan, retired from racing full-time last year. He is now a NASCAR analyst for NBC. However, he has raced twice this year for Michael Waltrip Racing, finishing 17th at Las Vegas and 20th at New Hampshire. Burton has 21 career wins in 693 starts while Stewart has 48 career wins in the Cup Series in 542 starts.