Tony Stewart blew a front tire and had to exit his first Nascar race since striking and killing a rival driver in an Aug. 9 dirt track event in upstate New York.
Stewart, 43, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, wasn’t able to continue at Atlanta Motor Speedway last night after he made contact with Kyle Busch’s car and then hit the wall on the 172nd lap of the 325-lap race. Stewart didn’t talk to reporters following the Oral-B USA 500, which was won by Kasey Kahne.
Stewart skipped three races after the death of Kevin Ward Jr. at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, where Ward was struck by Stewart’s car as he walked on the dimly lit dirt track. Law enforcement authorities are investigating the incident.
“Part of that healing process for him was getting back in the race car,” Stewart-Haas spokesman Mike Arning told reporters. “This is what he’s done since he was 8 years old. Taking time off was certainly needed, but getting back in the race car was, I think, therapeutic.”
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