Columbus native’s news conference precedes qualifying


Tony Stewart will return to Sprint Cup competition Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, ending a three-race hiatus taken after he struck and killed a fellow driver during a dirt-track race.

The three-time NASCAR champion actually returns from seclusion today — he’s conducting a 1 p.m. news conference at Atlanta and will compete in qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Oral-B 500. Qualifying begins at approximately 7 p.m.

The Columbus native has not raced since his car hit Kevin Ward Jr. at an Aug. 9 sprint-car event in upstate New York. Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen (New York) International the next morning, then skipped races at Michigan and Bristol (Tennessee) Motor Speedway.


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