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Tony Stewart to sit out Michigan, Jeff Burton will replace him

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles
NASCAR: 5-Hour Energy 400-Practice
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May 9, 2014; Kansas City, KS, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart during practice for the 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway. (Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)

Tony Stewart will not drive at Michigan.

Stewart-Haas Racing announced Thursday afternoon that Jeff Burton would take Stewart's seat in the No. 14 car for the weekend. After striking and killing Kevin Ward at a dirt track in upstate New York on Saturday night, Stewart sat out Sunday's race at Watkins Glen. He was replaced by Regan Smith, who finished 37th after being involved in a crash.

A team release said the decision was Stewart's and that it only pertained to Michigan. The next Sprint Cup Series race after Michigan is at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 23.

Burton, 47, has driven twice this season in the Sprint Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing. After parting ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of 2013, Burton agreed to run a part-time schedule for MWR in 2014. He's moving to the broadcast booth in 2015, where he'll serve as an analyst for NBC's NASCAR coverage.

Burton has 21 Sprint Cup Series wins with Roush Fenway Racing and RCR. He last won in 2008 at Charlotte.

In addition to Watkins Glen, it's also the second straight August race Stewart has missed at Michigan. After Stewart suffered a broken leg in a sprint car crash in Iowa last August, Austin Dillon drove for him a year ago at the track.

The investigation into the incident between Stewart and Ward is ongoing and on Tuesday, Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said it could take two weeks to complete. Povero has also said that there are no criminal charges pending against Stewart at this time. While the two were racing together at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Ward hit the wall and exited his vehicle and angrily went to confront Stewart and was hit by Stewart's car.

On Monday, Stewart withdrew from a dirt track race he had planned for Aug. 16 and his sprint car schedule is on an indefinite hold.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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