Stewart: tragedy will affect him forever
Updated: Friday, August 29 2014, 05:24 PM EDT
Tony Stewart said the death of Kevin Ward Jr. will "affect my life forever."
Stewart is returning to the track for the first time since his car struck and killed the fellow driver during a sprint-car race in Canandaigua.
Stewart spoke Friday for the first time Ward died at an Aug. 9 dirt-track event.
Stewart said he prays for Ward's family every day. He said he sent flowers and a card to the family, but has not reached out to them personally.
Stewart said he "misses being in the race car." He said racing will help him get through this difficult time.
The three-time NASCAR champion has not raced since Ward's death.
Stewart will race in Atlanta on Sunday night for the first time in three weeks. He says he took time out of respect for Ward's family -- and so he could cope with the tragedy.
Speaking quietly, Stewart says he could not answer questions about the incident and he left after reading a short statement.