Tony Stewart made a statement at Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday afternoon. It was Stewart's first public appearance since the accident that Stewart was involved in that took the life of fellow competitor Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart did not take questions from the media due to the ongoing investigation from the Ontario County Police Department. Stewart was very emotional in the statement.
Here is Stewart's statement in its entirety.
"This is been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally," Stewart said. "This is something that will definitely affect my life forever. This is a sadness and a pain I hope no one ever has to experience in their life. That being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward's family and friends are experiencing is something that I can't possibly imagine. I want Kevin's father, Kevin Sr., his mother Pam and his sisters Christi, Kayla and Katelyn to know that every day I'm thinking about and praying for them."
"The racing community is a large family. As you guys know and everyone's saddened with this tragedy. I want to thank all my friends and family for their support through this tough, emotional time. And the support from the NASCAR community, my partners, all of our employees has been overwhelming. I've taken the last couple weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way. It's given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates, and I miss being back in the race car. I think that being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time."
"I also understand that all of you have many questions and want a lot of answers. But however, I need to respect the ongoing investigation process and cannot answer and address the questions at this time. Emotionally I'm not sure if I could answer them anyway. I'm here to race this weekend and I appreciate your respect and there will be a day when I can sit here and answer the questions. Thank you."
Stewart-Haas Racing official Brett Frood took questions from the media following Stewart's statement.
Stewart will race in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race since August 3rd at Pocono Raceway. Stewart currently sits 26th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings. Stewart was given an exemption by NASCAR on Friday also so if he wins at Atlanta or Richmond he will qualify for the Chase.
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