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Stewart set to return to racing at Atlanta

Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - After missing the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, Tony Stewart is expected to return to competition this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Stewart-Haas Racing made the announcement of Stewart's return on Thursday. A press conference involving Stewart and SHR executive vice president Brett Frood has been scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. ET.

Stewart, a three-time champion in NASCAR's premier series, skipped Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol while he was in seclusion following his involvement in a fatal accident on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. He struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race.

The incident occurred during a caution when Ward climbed out of his car and then walked down the dirt track, pointing his finger in the direction of Stewart and apparently yelling at him to express his displeasure. The right rear of Stewart's car hit Ward and dragged him briefly across the track.

The caution came when Stewart and Ward made contact while battling for position, with Ward spinning out and hitting the wall.

Currently, there are no criminal charges pending against Stewart. The investigation regarding Ward's death is still ongoing. Ward died from massive blunt trauma.

Atlanta will mark Stewart's first Sprint Cup start since Aug. 3 at Pocono. He is currently 26th in the point standings and has yet to win a race this season. Atlanta (Aug. 31) and Richmond (Sept. 6) are the two remaining races during the regular season. The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins on Sept. 14 at Chicagoland.

Regan Smith substituted for Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet at Watkins Glen, while Jeff Burton filled in for him at Michigan and Bristol.

NASCAR released a statement on Thursday in regards to Stewart's return.

"Tony Stewart has received all necessary clearances required to return to all racing activities, and therefore is eligible to compete this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway," NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said in the statement. "NASCAR has remained in constant contact with his race team, and we will stay very close to this situation as Stewart returns to competition."

NASCAR president Mike Helton is scheduled to participate in press conference on Friday at 2 p.m. ET.

08/28 20:02:26 ET

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Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
5th
SFG 2
KAN 4
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
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NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
 
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
 
4th
CLEM 16
SYR 6
 
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
 
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
 
4th
COLST 45
WYO 24
 
4th
LSU 3
MISS 7
 
4th
TENN 17
ALA 34
 
4th
AUB 42
SCAR 35
 
3rd
PSU 7
OSU 17
 
1st
UTAH 7
USC 7
 
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
 
3rd
STL 3
CHI 2
 
3rd
NAS 0
PIT 3
 
3rd
MIN 6
TAM 2
 
2nd
ARI 0
FLA 0
 
1st
CAL 0
WAS 0
 
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14