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.”
— Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) April 21, 2016
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.
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