Harvick: 'Happy To Have My Friend Back'

Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick (right) says he's happy to have Tony Stewart back at the track this weekend for the first time since Stewart was involved in a fatal sprint car accident Aug. 9. (Photo: Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga. - Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick both say they are excited to see teammate Tony Stewart back at the track this weekend for the first time since Stewart was involved in a fatal sprint car accident Aug. 9.

“I’m just happy to have my friend back, to talk to him, hug him and support him,’’ Harvick said Friday morning at Atlanta Motor Speedway after driving breast cancer survivors around the track in a pink Chevrolet pace car.

This weekend marks the first time Stewart will race since he struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race at  Canandaigua Motorsports Park. A police investigation continues, but Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philp Povero said two weeks ago that there was no evidence of criminal intent at the time.

Stewart skipped NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol. Regan Smith filled in for Stewart at Watkins Glen and Jeff Burton did so at Michigan and Bristol.

Stewart will speak to the media at 1 pm ET. at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Harvick said it will be good for Stewart to be back.

“I know for him that will be great medicine to have some type of normal activity in his life again that he hasn’t been able to have,’’ Harvick said. “I can’t wait to see him.

“I don’t think he’d be here if he didn’t feel he was ready. He’s got a lot of great people around him and a lot of support.’’

Patrick said Friday morning she had not yet seen Stewart.

“I heard from him last weekend, telling me good luck,’’  said Patrick, who also gave breast cancer survivors pace car rides Friday. “It was good to hear from him. It will be good to have him back. We’ll be all on board to help him with whatever he needs.’’ 

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