Tony Stewart Won't Race Pure Michigan 400

Josh Strickland

Tony Stewart will not race the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, August 17, MLive reports. Up until Thursday, there had been no indication that he would not participate in the event at Michigan International Speedway, but on Thursday evening, Stewart-Haas Racing sent out an email indicating that he would not be racing. The decision comes following the Saturday sprint-car crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York that killed Kevin Ward, Jr.

Video depicts Stewart's car coming into contact with Ward's, causing Ward to lose control of his car. After Ward's vehicle came to a stop, he jumped out of his car and ran onto the track. Other drivers on the track that night have said that they saw Ward walk out onto the track, clearly agitated, and it soon was clear that he was directing his anger toward Stewart. But as Stewart's car passed by Ward, the car's rear swung in the direction of Ward, striking him and killing him.

Tony Stewart issued a statement following the accident, saying "There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr."

Stewart pulled out of the following day's NASCAR Watkins Glen event and announced earlier in the week that he would not race at an Indiana sprint-car event this weekend.

KSAT-TV reports the accident happened almost exactly a year after Stewart was involved in an Iowa sprint-car crash in which he suffered a compound fracture to his right leg, forcing him out of the second half of the NASCAR season. Also coincidentally, the accident came just over a year after one at the same track in upstate New York that was later determined to be caused by Stewart that also seriously injured a young driver. That crash involved 15 vehicles. Alysha Ruggles, 19, suffered a compression fracture in her lower back.

After his injury last year, Stewart made his return to sprint-car racing only last month at the Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn, Michigan.

In his absence at the Pure Michigan 400 at MIS this weekend, veteran driver Jeff Burton will be behind the wheel of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.

As for what Stewart's plans are after this weekend, that remains unknown, but an address by Burton and other Stewart-Hass Racing team members scheduled for Friday morning may shed some light.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said earlier this week that the department found "no facts in hand that would substantiate or support a criminal charge," The Inquisitr previously reported, but as CBS News reports, Stewart isn't exactly in the clear yet, and Ward's father wants answers.

[Image: Motorsports Soapbox]