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Tony Stewart: Tragedy Will Affect My Life Forever

Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:13:00 +0000

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images for NASCAR(ATLANTA) -- Tony Stewart spoke for the first time since killing sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. on August 9.

Stewart will race on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and had missed the last three races following the tragic death.

"This has been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally. This is something that will definitely affect my life forever," said Stewart, who has missed the past three Sprint Cup races after Ward's death Aug. 9. "This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one has to experience in their life. That being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward's family and friends are experiencing is something that I can't possibly imagine."

Stewart was granted the right to still compete for the Chase for the championship, despite the rule stating that each driver must attempt to either qualify or race the car in every points-paying event to be eligible for the Chase.

"As a league and our responsibility to try to make decisions that are correct and right, sometimes we evaluate circumstances that are given us, and then make those decisions as correctly as we can," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "After evaluating the circumstances around this occurrence, we've come to the conclusion that Tony would be eligible to participate, if he were to earn a spot in it."

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