NASCAR is waiting to see if
Stewart has been in isolation since his car struck and killed 20-year-old
Stewart, 43, then skipped the Cup races at Watkins Glen, N.Y., Michigan
When Stewart plans to return is anyone's guess.
The Cup series heads this weekend to Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., a 1.5-mile oval where Stewart has won three times, most recently in 2010. This year's Oral-B USA 500 is Sunday.
If Stewart sits out the Atlanta race, the next race is Sept. 6 in Richmond, Va., which already will be under a bright spotlight. Richmond is the last race of the Cup series' regular season and thus the last opportunity for drivers to qualify for NASCAR's 10-race Chase for the Cup title playoff.
There's also speculation that Stewart might be waiting for the results of an investigation into the fatal incident by the office of Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero. Povero said Aug. 12 that the probe would take at least two weeks.
The fatal incident began when Stewart and Ward were racing side-by-side and Ward's car crashed into a fence. Ward then climbed from his car, walked on the track and appeared to be angrily pointing at Stewart when he was struck as Stewart's car came back around.
A graphic amateur video captured the incident and sparked a nationwide debate about which driver might have been at fault.