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Helton: Tony Stewart still eligible for Chase, but must win to get in

Aug 29, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT

HAMPTON, Ga. – Tony Stewart is still eligible to make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Back earlier this year when we announced the format for the ’14 Chase, that announcement included some responsibility about the routine participation in the season in order to be eligible in the Chase,” Helton said.

“Along with that importance of routine participation also came the asterisk, so to speak, about accepting rare incidents. 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.

“After evaluating the circumstances around this occurrence, we’ve come to the conclusion that Tony would be eligible to participate in the Chase if he were to earn a spot in it.”

In other words, Stewart must win either Sunday night in Atlanta or next Saturday night in the final Chase qualifying race at Richmond to make the expanded 16-driver field of the 11th edition of the Chase.

Helton said there has been no consideration of expanding the field to 17 drivers, much like it was expanded to 13 for last season’s Chase due to the Michael Waltrip Racing scandal that occurred at Richmond.

“We haven’t had anyone suggest it, and that’s not on the table right now,” Helton said. “It’s simply if Tony were able to earn a spot in the Chase, and our decision is currently yes.”

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  1. astrongus - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Has anybody asked the Ward family what they think of Tony racing after only several weeks?…… They remain in early stages of grief and this just seems very insensitive to the family of Ward.

    • indycarseries500 - Aug 29, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      Tony should give up his love, his passion because some angry guy thought he was going to fight a him in a moving sprint car?

      • techmeister1 - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        astrongus is on a mission to convict an innocent man without due process. He continually posts inflammatory comments as if Stewart is responsible for Kevin’s poor decision to charge Stewart’s car on a live race track. astrongus is in denial and can’t deal with the fact that Kevin caused his own death. Thankfully the authorities are doing an extensive investigation and have publically stated there is NO EVIDENCE to suggest criminal intent.

        Quote:

        As the investigation has progressed, Povero has maintained that no evidence has emerged to suggest criminal intent from any party involved in the Aug. 9 tragedy.

        End quote

        Naturally those looking to falsely place blame will continue their attacks on Stewart forever.

  2. charger383 - Aug 29, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Anybody who attacks a moving car like Ward did deserves whatever happens,

  3. worknman24hours - Aug 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    It will be interesting if Tony gets into the chase and he’s charged with involuntary manslaughter right as the Chase heats up.

    Should make for some interesting worldwide press for NASCAR with the video of the terrible incident repeated worldwide until it becomes part of the the history of NASCAR even though it happened no where near a NASCAR track.

    Just a really strange way to ‘respect the process’ when you are standing on a podium getting awards as it runs it’s course.

  4. techmeister1 - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Tony isn’t going to be convicted of involuntary manslaughter so you can forget the theatrics. There is nothing wrong with an innocent man continuing his daily employment while a investigation takes place for a fool running into his car. How long do you think he should remain unemployed or fail to meet his contractual obligations to his sponsors and employees? Once again we have people judging Stewart as if he is a criminal when in fact he is likely the second victim in this case.

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