Tony Stewart won't race on Sunday after his car struck and killed a man during a race Saturday night in upstate New York.
After Stewart's manager initially said Sunday would be "business as usual" for Stewart at Watkins Glen International, Stewart-Haas Racing made the decision to replace Stewart in the No. 14 car with Regan Smith. The fatal accident is being described as an "on-track crash investigation" and not a criminal investigation.
Greg Zipadelli, the competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, said Stewart "feels strongly" about not taking part in the race.
"It's just an unbelievable tragedy. Our hearts go out to, obviously, Kevin and his family -- thoughts and prayers. This is a very tough, very emotional time for everybody -- his family, our family at Stewart-Haas, Tony Stewart."
After meeting with Stewart this morning, Zipadelli said Stewart felt that sitting "is the right thing to do. We at SHR support it and agree with it. This is what we feel is right and we're supporting Tony in it."
“It's a difficult time for both parties” says Tony Stewart's manager after death of young dirt track driver. #nascar— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) August 10, 2014
NASCAR released a statement Sunday morning in support of the decision: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fellow competitors of Kevin Ward Jr. We support Tony Stewart's decision to miss today's race. We will continue to respect the process and timeline of the local authorities and will continue to monitor this situation."
Stewart struck and killed fellow Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in Canandaigua, N.Y., Saturday night. Ward had exited his car to confront Stewart on the track when Stewart caught him with his back right tire. He was pronounced dead at a New York hospital Saturday night.