Stewart to Skip Michigan

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart has decided to skip this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, his team announced Thursday. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tony Stewart will not compete this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, his team confirmed Thursday.            

Jeff Burton will drive the No. 14 car for Stewart-Haas Racing this weekend.

The change is for this weekend only. Stewart’s plans for future NASCAR Sprint Cup races have not been determined.

Stewart did not issue a statement with this announcement.

Stewart has not raced since he was involved in a fatal sprint car accident last weekend at Cananadaigua Motorsports Park. Kevin Ward Jr., 20, died after he was struck by Stewart’s car.

Ward bounced off the wall and spun after racing Stewart in the feature of the Empire Super Sprints race last weekend. Ward exited his car, walked down the track and gestured toward Stewart’s car before he was hit.

Ward's funeral was Thursday morning. Ward's sister, Kayla Herring, told reporters before the funeral that the past week has been “rough” for the family but “we will get through together.”

Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero said this week that the investigation into the accident could take two weeks or more, although Povero stressed that there was no evidence of criminal intent.

Stewart skipped last weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International. Regan Smith replaced him and finished 37th after he was collected in an accident.

A statement from Stewart was issued during that race. It read: “There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

For Burton, this will be his third start of the season. His most recent race was last month at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished 20th. In his only other start this year, Burton was 17th at Las Vegas.

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