Friday, August 29, 2014

NASCAR Offers Stewart A Chase Exemption

NASCAR's Mike Helton
Tony Stewart is back behind the wheel today at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and if he can somehow find his way to Victory Lane Sunday night, he will compete for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series championship.

NASCAR President Mike Helton confirmed today that the sanctioning body will extend an exemption to Stewart, allowing him to race for the title despite sitting out the last three races following an incident in a Sprint Car race that took the life of driver Kevin Ward, Jr.

NASCAR President Mike Helton explained that decision today, saying, “This has been a very unique set of circumstances to Tony and to our sport. As the league, it's 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.”

Helton declined to provide specifics on what medical and/or psychological treatment Stewart may have received in the last three weeks, saying the sanctioning body relied on “third-party experts to assure us that a NASCAR driver or a NASCAR member is ready to return. All those forms of processes were met and we cleared him based on those third-party inputs from experts.”

He also said the sanctioning body is unlikely to assess any penalty or sanction based on the findings of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Ontario County (NY) Sheriff’s office, saying, “our effort, our scope of responsibility and authority is limited to the NASCAR community.”
Ontario County Sheriff Phillip Povero issued a written statement today saying that his department’s investigation into Ward’s death will continue “for at least another two weeks,” adding that his office, “will continue to apprise the District Attorney of information as it is developed. When the investigation is completed, the news media will be advised as to what action will be taken. The Ontario County Office of Sheriff thanks all media outlets for their patience and understanding as we continue to thoroughly investigate this tragic crash.”

Stewart spoke to the media today for the first time since the Aug. 9 incident, calling the incident, “one of the toughest tragedies I have ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally” and adding “this is something that will definitely affect my life forever.”


  1. Anonymous6:47 PM

    Another knee jerk reaction by NASCAR. Let him win a race then decide on the Chase implications.( who said that?) It seems like NASCAR thrives on controversy and inconsistencies.
    Just my opinion

  2. Anonymous12:33 AM

    Good idea as Stewart did nothing wrong from evidence available at this time. He was right to take time off.

  3. Anonymous7:52 PM

    Thank you Mike Helton for having more common sense and compassion than most.
    Though I am not a follower of Tony Stewart, to be honest I root against him in most races, I have a great deal of respect for him.

    I just read a piece by some guy named Jordan Bianchi.....Tony Stewart undeserving of NASCAR chase waiver....he even quotes Brian Vickers in the article of saying if he has a baby would he get to sit out because Tony Stewart received a waiver.

    I'd like to say I thought more of Brian Vickers, not any longer... that sealed the deal for me, comparing a tragedy like this to anything is not reasonable....and Jordan Bianchi....what an F'ing Jerk....if you called the Pope, the Dali Lama and Gandi and asked if they had heard of Jordan Bianchi, they would all say he was an "F'ing Jerk". He and Brian Vickers may be entitled to their opinions....but what a pair of "F'ing Jerks".

    1. Anonymous4:22 AM

      The tragedy is irrelevant. The real point is that Stewart elected to sit out of his own accord. When you "elect" to sit out, no matter what the reason, no waiver should be granted.

  4. They should give him an exemption. Just like the should give a driver who has had a concussion or other injury an exemption so drivers that should not be racing for a couple of weeks should get off the track and not be a danger to the other drivers in a quest for the chase. Also, given the continued stating that this is a family sport, a driver missing a race / qualifying because of the birth of their child needs to be given an exception.

    The rule is just to make sure drivers don't take vacations or race somewhere else after winning.