Stewart's Absence Felt By His Fans In Bristol - myfoxcarolinas.com

Stewart's Absence Felt By His Fans In Bristol

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Bristol, Tenn. -

Tony Stewart announced this week his plans to sit out of the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The move marks his third race since an incident on track in Canandaigua, New York that claimed the life of sprint car racer Kevin Ward, Jr. Despite his absence, Stewart’s fans were out showing their support for the 3-time Sprint Cup Champion.

“Well, we feel bad for him," said Lou Coppola of Medina, Ohio. "We know he’s got to get through some things, but I think he’ll come back and I think he’ll be stronger than ever.”

Across from the Allison Grandstand at the legendary speedway, Stewart's merchandise trailer was shopped by numerous fans throughout the early afternoon.

“For as long as I’ve been with my husband, for about 10 years now, we always liked racing and Tony Stewart has always been our relationship,” said Jessica Miller, who traveled to the track from Long Island, New York. "It’s our first race together. Our first race in Bristol. So, we’ve never been to a race before. So, a little bit heartbroken that Tony, we’re not going to see him today, but at least we’ll see his car.”

The tragedy in Miller's home state, just a few weeks ago, continues to be a primary focus of the racer's fan base.

“I feel so bad for Tony," said Jeremy Broking of Minneapolis, Minnesota. "I feel bad for the Ward family. I mean, it was events that should have never happened. But they happened and now everybody’s suffering and it’s a bad deal.”

One fan wanted to make sure Stewart knew his fan base was there for him.

“I just hope...he understands that we’re behind him," said Maxine Gregg of New Kensington, Pennsylvania. "We support him in whatever decision he makes. If he can’t get in the car, I understand. My heart’s with him.”

Jeff Burton continues his role as interim driver of the No. 14, a role he began last week at Michigan International Speedway.

In an announcement, Stewart’s team only confirmed his absence for the Bristol race and did not elaborate on his plans for future races.

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