Tony Stewart will not race in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International after an incident Saturday night in Canandaigua, New York that killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward, Jr.
Stewart was scheduled to run in the Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International in the #14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. A press conference at the facility confirmed that Stewart will sit out of the race and will be replaced by Regan Smith.
Smith has made 171 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with one career win. Stewart currently sits 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and will still be eligible to earn a NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup spot over the next five races since he did qualify for today's race.
"He's going through a tough time. It's emotional for him," Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli said of Stewart. "[Stewart] feels strongly this is the right thing to do. We at SHR support it and agree with it. It's a difficult time for both parties. This is what we feel is right and we're supporting Tony in it."
Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero made it clear that there are no criminal charges pending at this time but that the investigation in Saturday night's on=-track incident is ongoing. Povero also said that Stewart "full cooperative" and appeared to be visibly "very upset" over what happened.
***Updates made by Mark Eddinger – 11:50 p.m.***
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Tags: Cheez-It 355, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Regan Smith, Tony Stewart, Watkins Glen International