Tony Stewart Not Racing At Michigan; Jeff Burton To Fill In

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart will not race at Michigan International Speedway. Reuters

Tony Stewart will not race at Michigan International Speedway this weekend, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Thursday. Instead, Jeff Burton will fill in for him.

"Tony Stewart has decided not to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn," said a statement posted by Stewart-Haas Racing, the team the NASCAR champion races for, on Facebook. "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."

Hundreds of fans commented on the update. Many of the Facebook users said they understood why Stewart would not participate in the upcoming race and hoped he would return to the sport. Nearly 3,000 people “liked” the update and more than 1,300 people shared it. 

Stewart did not race at Watkins Glen International after he hit and killed driver Kevin Ward Jr., 20, during a race at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park on Saturday. He originally said he would participate and then pulled out later. 

Video of the crash went viral and ignited a debate about whether or not the hit was intentional. After the drivers got into an accident on the track, Ward Jr. stepped out of his car to confront Stewart on foot. Stewart's car hit Ward Jr., dragged his body, and then flung him to the side of the track where he stayed motionless.

No charges have been filed against Stewart.

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