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Tony Stewart to Return at Richmond

It’s official: Tony Stewart is back.

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, currently in his final season as a full-time driver before retirement, will return to the seat of his No. 14 for Stewart-Haas Racing for the first time in 2016 after a back injury sustained before the season began knocked him out of the ride for the first eight races of 2016.

Stewart made the announcement via his Twitter account Thursday morning, April 21, that he will drive in this weekend’s race at Richmond International Raceway.

“Well, the long wait is over,” he wrote. “I’ll be back in my @Mobil1 Chevy this weekend at Richmond. I can’t wait to race again.”

In the eight races since Stewart’s injury, Ty Dillon and Brian Vickers have split the No. 14. Vickers owns the best finish for the team in 2016: a seventh-place effort at Martinsville Speedway.

The driver has also been granted a Chase waiver, NASCAR announced Thursday, provided he meets all other requirements for inclusion after 26 races. Last season, Kyle Busch won the Sprint Cup championship after gaining a waiver from NASCAR having missed a significant chunk of the first few races of the season.

Stewart sustained a fractured back in an ATV accident on Jan. 31 in California. He will retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season, retaining his role as a car owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, which fields entries for Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick in addition to Stewart. Clint Bowyer will take over the No. 14 in 2017.

About the author

Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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Good Luck Smoke.


He got a waiver after the incident in New York. Was there any doubt he was going to get one this time too?

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