Tony Stewart, who hasn’t raced since he was involved in an on-track incident Aug. 9 that killed another driver, will get back behind the wheel for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race in Hampton, Georgia. The three-time NASCAR champion’s team, Stewart-Haas Racing, made the announcement this afternoon, ending speculation about the return of Stewart, who has been in seclusion while an investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr. continues.
Statement from Stewart-Haas Racing regarding plans for the No. 14 team at Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/x61s1aUwXK
— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) August 28, 2014
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell released this statement about Stewart’s return:
“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.”
It is unclear whether the 43-year-old racing icon is still eligible to compete for the Sprint Cup title. NASCAR rules state that drivers must attempt to qualify for all 26 of the circuit’s races leading up to the Chase for the Cup. For drivers in the top 30 in the Sprint Cup standings, a waiver of that rule may be granted, but that hasn’t happened yet in Stewart’s case. The driver is currently 26th in the standings with 537 points.