Tony Stewart cleared to race, will be in car at Richmond

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2014, file photo, Tony Stewart is introduced before the NASCAR Daytona 500 Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP/WRIC) – Tony Stewart has been cleared to return to racing and will be back in his car Friday at Richmond International Raceway.

Stewart has also been granted a Sprint Cup Chase waiver due to his injury and is eligible to compete for a berth in postseason racing if he qualifies.

The three-time NASCAR champion missed the first eight races of the season with a fractured vertebra suffered in a January all-terrain vehicle accident.

The injury occurred one week before Stewart was scheduled to start his final season in NASCAR. He’s retiring at the end of this year.

After Sunday’s race at Richmond, Stewart will participate in a Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He plans qualify and start his car at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, but he will give his seat up after the race begins to Ty Dillon. Stewart says the style of racing at Talladega could lead to an accident that could hurt his comeback.

He plans to return to fulltime racing at Kansas the following week.

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