Tony Stewart will race Sunday, his first competition since fatal crash

Tony Stewart will make his return on Sunday.(Getty Images)

Tony Stewart will race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, according to a release from Stewart-Haas Racing. Sunday's Sprint Cup race marks his first competition since the August 9th on-track collision that killed Kevin Ward Jr. 

Stewart skipped the last three races (Watkins Glen, Michigan International Speedway, Bristol) following the fatal accident in upstate New York. His team has used substitute drivers while he's been out, but Stewart will return to his No. 14 car this weekend. 

The investigation, which began nearly three weeks ago, is still being conducted by the Ontario County (N.Y.) sheriff's department. On August 12, the sheriff said the investigation was expected to take at least two more weeks, and there's been no update since then. They did, however, say that preliminary findings suggested no criminal intent. 

Stewart has been in seclusion since the crash, which saw an angry Ward walk onto the track to confront Stewart. Stewart's back right tire clipped Ward and sent him sprawling back. 

"There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took Kevin Ward Jr's life," Stewart said in the only public comments he has made since the crash. 

In the wake of the accident, NASCAR implemented a rule forbidding drivers from exiting their vehicles, unless it's on fire, until safety professionals arrive. 

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