No decision made on Stewart's status for Bristol, Chase is of 'lowest priority'

No decision made on Stewart's status for Bristol, Chase is of 'lowest priority'
No decision made on Stewart's status for Bristol, Chase is of 'lowest priority'

Stewart-Haas Racing reiterated Friday that Jeff Burton's appearance in the No. 14 car for Tony Stewart is currently a one-race arrangement.

Burton is driving for Stewart at Michigan as Stewart misses his second-straight race after striking and killing Kevin Ward at a dirt track in upstate New York.

"This decision was Tony's," Stewart-Haas vice president Brett Frood said. "It's an emotional week for him. He's grieving. He made the decision he's not ready to get in the race car and we'll take it week by week. It's going to be up to Tony when he's ready to get back in the car."

The investigation into the incident by the Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department is currently ongoing and could take two weeks. No criminal charges are currently pending in the matter.

Burton said Stewart-Haas reached out to him Wednesday morning to see if he would be available to drive the car this weekend. The team announced Burton as Stewart's replacement Thursday afternoon. Burton has driven in two races for Michael Waltrip Racing this season. He'll be an analyst for NBC In 2015.

"My role here is to hopefully provide a little stability," Burton said. "Give that team the chance to have the most success it can have in a very difficult situation and hopefully me being here in some kind of way can help, I don't know how, but hopefully I can find a way to help a healing process start. I don't know how that is but that would be my ultimate goal for everybody."

Frood also said that the team was not concerning itself with Stewart's Chase chances. Since he is not present at Michigan he would need a NASCAR waiver to be eligible for the 2014 Chase. However, to qualify for the Chase he would have to win a race before the Chase begins. Following Michigan there are only three more races before the Chase. Any Chase discussion is much ado about low probabilities.

"I'll be honest, the Chase is of the lowest priority as it relates to Tony right now," Frood said. "As far as the Chase, the only care I have this weekend is to get Danica in the Chase. Right now it's about getting Tony in a better place than he is right now."

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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