Tony Stewart To Miss Second Straight Sprint Cup Race, NASCAR Revises Rules
It was announced Thursday that Tony Stewart would not be racing in the Pure Michigan 400 this Sunday as he continues to grieve and to stay out of the spotlight following last weekend's tragic accident that killed Kevin Ward Jr. And on Friday, a Stewart-Haas Racing executive confirmed there is no timetable for if or when Stewart will return to the Sprint Cup Series.
Last Saturday night, Stewart's car struck Ward, who had exited his vehicle under a caution flag and he started walking down the track toward Stewart. Ward was pronounced dead of blunt force trauma shortly after at an area hospital. Stewart was questioned as part of the ongoing investigation and he decided to withdraw from last weekend's race at Watkins Glen.
Jeff Burton will drive Stewart's no. 14 entry in Michigan this Sunday. Another question being asked in terms of when Stewart will return is if he could receive an exemption from NASCAR in order to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. This is only if he competes in the next three races before the Chase field is set. NASCAR would normally make the consideration if the driver in question had missed a race due to injury. Stewart's case is unusual to say the least.
In light of the Stewart case, NASCAR announced Friday rule changes for on-track incidents. The new policy mandates any driver involved in an incident to remain in his or her race car, unless the car is in an emergency situation. "At no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface or apron," the rule says. "At no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach another moving vehicle." Violations of the new procedure will be viewed by NASCAR as behavioral infractions. the governing body will evaluate each incident independently when assessing penalties.
Live coverage of the Pure Michigan 400 will begin at 11:00 am Sunday on The Country Station! 92.5 WBKR.