After sitting out two consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, the question now is whether
Only Stewart, a three-time Cup champion, knows at this point. "It will be up to Tony when he's ready to get back in the car," Brett Frood, executive vice president of Stewart's team,
Stewart has been in isolation since his car struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. while Ward was on foot during a sprint-car race Aug. 9 at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park dirt track in upstate New York.
Ward had emerged from his wrecked car, walked on the track and appeared to be angrily pointing at Stewart when he was struck as Stewart's car circled back around. Local authorities are still investigating the incident.
Stewart, 43, skipped the Cup race the next day, in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and did not race Sunday at Michigan
It's unknown whether the reputation of the Bristol track — a short, 0.533-mile oval with high-banked corners — for fender-banging action and flared tempers would be a factor in Stewart's decision whether to drive in Saturday night's 500-lap race.
Two years ago the temperamental Stewart got so mad at
Regardless, Stewart might postpone his return until the Ontario County, N.Y., sheriff's office concludes its probe into the fatal incident with Ward. Sheriff Philip Povero said last Tuesday that the investigation would last at least an additional two weeks.
After Bristol, the Cup series moves to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 31 and then Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Sept. 6.
Richmond is the last of the series' 26 regular-season races. NASCAR's 10-race Chase for the Cup title playoff then starts Sept. 14 at Chicagoland Speedway.