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Harvick: '(Stewart) will stay strong and fight'

August 17, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Stewart-Haas Racing teammate: Situation has 'added more fire to everybody'

RELATED: Complete coverage of Tony Stewart incident

Following his second-place finish in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400, Kevin Harvick addressed "a difficult week" for Stewart-Haas Racing. Owner and teammate Tony Stewart decided to sit out a second race as he continues to grieve over the death of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. in an on-track incident last Saturday night.

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"I've known Tony Stewart for a long time," Harvick said. "You look, you know, you see what happened. I still don't believe that he even knew that he ran into that car. I know for sure that Tony Stewart is not going to run over somebody that's on a racetrack. I don't think there's anybody in this garage that would."

Harvick credited SHR executive vice president Brett Frood and co-owner Gene Haas with keeping the organization together over the last eight days.

"Brett Frood is at the racetrack making sure that everything's right," Harvick said. "Gene Haas was there last weekend. Everybody just has to pitch in and do their part, make sure we do everything we can to help Tony get through his situation.

"There's a lot of strong people at our company. Gene brings a lot to the table from a financial standpoint, being a leader. There's a lot of great sponsors that are there that are very supportive of everything we're doing."

The driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet, who earned his fourth consecutive runner-up result at Michigan International Speedway, said he hasn't spoken with Stewart, who was replaced in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet by Jeff Burton. Frood said on Friday that it will be up to Stewart to decide when to return to racing.

"I know he'll stay strong and fight and he'll get the right people and do all the right things," Harvick said.

"I think it's added more fire to everybody just to step up and keep everything headed in the right direction."

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