Tony Stewart, in his first appearance since the on-track death of fellow racer Kevin Ward Jr., has the support of the racing community who are ecstatic to have him back today.
h/t: USA Today
The simple act of arriving at Atlanta Motor Speedway – a step Tony Stewart made Friday in returning to NASCAR after a three-race absence — was like a homecoming for his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates.
Danica Patrick, who drives for SHR and spoke to Stewart last weekend, said “It will be good to have him back. We’ll be all on board to help him with whatever he needs. But he’s Tony Stewart, so I’m sure he will be fine. With it being a tragic accident, it’s something to work through.”
Stewart is scheduled to race in Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 at AMS. He has missed three Sprint Cup races since his sprint car hit and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in a dirt race in upstate New York on Aug. 9.
During a press conference Friday afternoon at the track, Stewart read a 2 minute, 30 second statement that SHR spokesman Mike Arning said had been written by the three-time champion who had been in seclusion since the tragedy.
SHR teammate Kevin Harvick said he was the least concerned about the “racing side” of Stewart’s return. “I know for him that will be great medicine to have some type of normal activity in his life again that he hasn’t been able to have,” Harvick said.
“But, from a personal standpoint, I’m glad to see my friend and be able to talk to him and be able to support him through probably what will be the hardest situation he’s had to go through in his whole life. That to me is the most important thing.”
Watch the press conference: http://news.msn.com/videos?videoid=89b57e0a-c4b2-4d56-80b2-0591273642f8&ap=True&ocid=OutP&from=OutP&FORM=BWVOLC
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