Stewart-Haas Racing sent out a release on Friday announcing that Tony Stewart has decided to sit out Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Jeff Burton will drive the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet normally driven by Stewart.
Sunday’s race at Michigan will be the second-straight Sprint Cup Series race missed by Stewart since the tragic incident between Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York on Aug. 9, which led to Ward’s death. The Sprint Cup Series raced at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International the following day with Regan Smith in the No. 14. This weekend, Smith will be at Mid-Ohio in Lexington, Ohio, racing in the Nationwide Series race there on Saturday.
According to the release from SHR, the announcement of Burton driving in Stewart’s absence only applies to the upcoming race at Michigan. A definite date for Stewart’s return has not been set.
Burton is the former driver of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. He parted ways with RCR at the end of the 2013 race season. Prior to joining the Childress organization, he was with Roush Fenway Racing. Burton has signed on to be a NASCAR broadcaster with NBC Sports, beginning in 2015. He has competed in two of the 22 races, so far, this season, though, driving a No. 66 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. He has 21-career Sprint Cup wins, the last two of those coming in 2008.