Tony Stewart out for Bristol race
August 20, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
RELATED: Complete coverage of Tony Stewart incident | Learn more about Jeff Burton
Tony Stewart will not drive this weekend in the Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Instead, Jeff Burton will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 14 Chevrolet.
Stewart has not raced in the past two Sprint Cup events. At Michigan, Burton filled in for him and finished in 37th place. At Watkins Glen Nationwide Series regular Regan Smith piloted the No. 14 Chevrolet to a 37th-place finish. Stewart was on the initial entry list for Michigan that was released on Monday.
This change only pertains to Bristol. Stewart's plans for upcoming Sprint Cup races have yet to be determined, according to a team release.
Stewart-Haas Racing officials said last weekend at Michigan that there is no timetable for Stewart's return to NASCAR racing and that the decision will be the driver's call to make.
Stewart was involved in a sprint car racing incident earlier this month that resulted in driver Kevin Ward Jr. suffering fatal injuries at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, a half-mile dirt track on the Ontario County Fairgrounds. The investigation regarding the incident is ongoing.
Last week, Stewart also canceled plans to race at Plymouth Speedway (in Indiana) this weekend. In fact, Stewart's racing plans outside NASCAR have been canceled and will not resume until further notice.
After sitting out the past two races, Stewart is 25th in points. To be eligible for this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, a driver must attempt to qualify for all 26 races leading up to the Chase and be in the top 30 in points.
However, according to NASCAR, for rare instances the requirement can be waived as long as the driver is in the top 30.
Stewart currently has 537 points while 30th-place Michael Annett has 364.
Burton has made three starts this season with a best finish of 17th place in March at Las Vegas. One of Burton's 21 premier series victories came in 2008 at Bristol. In 40 starts at the track, he has eight top-fives and 15 top-10 finishes.
A win by Burton would not put the No. 14 team into the Chase, which is reserved for drivers in the top 30 in driver points.
The IRWIN Tools Night Race is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET, with coverage on ABC.
Burton, an NBC analyst, said on NBC Sports Network's "NASCAR America" on Wednesday night that he was more comfortable at Bristol than he was last week at Michigan.
Watch the full interview below.