Regan Smith prepared to replace Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images)

Tony Stewart opted not to compete in the NASCAR race Sunday, 12 hours after he struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in a dirt-track race in Canandaigua, N.Y., and Stewart chose not to speak about it, too.

Although he headed for nearby Watkins Glen after the tragedy and initially intended to race, Stewart let Greg Zipadelli address the media and left the course, releasing a statement after his departure.. He echoed Zipadelli, who referred to this being an emotional time for the Stewart-Haas Racing team:

“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.,” his statement said. “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.”

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