Gaughan earns first win in 98 Nationwide Series starts
NASCAR driver stats, preview information for the 2014 season
Earnhardt Jr., Johnson and Harvick share thoughts on grand jury decision RELATED: Full timeline of Stewart coverage " Stewart on accident " Future in sprint cars DOVER, Del. -- Two days after grand jury proceedings came to a close in Ontario County, New York, Tony Stewart was back at work Friday, strapped into his No. 14 Chevrolet and making preliminary laps at Dover International Speedway . His return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition came four weeks ago at Atlanta, but Friday marked his first day at the track without the potential for criminal charges in the accident that killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9. While that part of the matter is resolved, Stewart made clear in an interview with The Associated Press that he remains haunted by the events of that dark Saturday night at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. As Stewart tries to find a new, but forever altered sense of normalcy at the track, the NASCAR community -- which counts the three-time champion known as "Smoke" among its most popular members -- has reached out with thoughts for both Stewart and the Ward family, both before and after Wednesday's announcement of the grand jury's decision. "I don't know if relief is what I had," said Dale Earnhardt Jr ., NASCAR's reigning most popular driver. "I didn't really pay super close attention to what was going on. More or less just letting the process play out, and I feel sadness in my heart for the Ward family. But at the same time you get something in the pit of your stomach that is sort of this frightfulness or this fear for Tony and what he is having to deal with. Just having known him for all these years you can imagine that he is going through something super emotional and overwhelming by a huge measure. "There is sort of a sickness or something in the pit of your stomach for what Tony is going through, but at the same time you never really forget that somebody was killed. There is a family with a hole in their heart and they have got to figure out a way to live out the rest of their lives with this always on their mind. It will have a huge effect on both sides for so many years. It's just super-duper unfortunate." The revelation that Ward -- a 20-year-old driver who won four races on the regional Empire Super Sprints circuit -- was under the influence of marijuana to a degree that would impair judgment, according to authorities, was termed "shocking" by six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson . The report also raised the question about restrictions and policing illegal substances at the nation's short tracks, many of which operate without the benefit of a regional or national sanctioning body to oversee such a process. "I guess I don't understand enough about it all and what the repercussions for short tracks would be. Still, first and foremost, I just don't want to ignore the fact that it was a massive tragedy that took place," Johnson said. "The toxicology report is shocking to see. From a friend perspective and worrying about Tony and understanding what he's gone through and how tough this has been on him, I'm sure there is some type of relief that it's kind of done, in that respect. But at the same time, coming back to the Ward family, even in the remarks I read from Tony, I'm sure he feels OK about not having this go any further and there being legal actions. A civil suit is still out there and that can happen for any reason, to anybody in this room. But, the other side of it, still first and foremost on Tony's mind is that it was an accident and his heart is still out for the Ward family. "And I just echo those same things. It's such a tragedy to have these details come out and people potentially forming sides, there's just no good in that. It's just been a terrible accident and we need to pay respect to Kevin Ward Jr., and I don't know how you go on, but just move forward." While Stewart qualified 15th for Sunday's AAA 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), teammate Kevin Harvick carried the torch for the Stewart-Haas Racing team Friday with his seventh Coors Light Pole Award of the year. Harvick said that he couldn't speak for the entire organization's state of mind, but said that he was personally relieved after Wednesday's announcement. "You worry about your friend and the circumstances that are surrounding him and how things could be dictated for the rest of his life," Harvick said. "Just being around and knowing how much it's weighed on him and all the things that he has going on, for me personally, I'm happy for my friend. As far as the team, we've all got jobs to do and have had to press through them, but I'm overjoyed in obviously a devastating situation, but I'm just happy that it's to a point where everybody knows what's happening in the future and start the process of trying to deal with it and move on into some sort of normalcy." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jacques Villeneuve slams into Marcos Ambrose in Turn 2 and then Ambrose repays the favor later that lap.
Jacques Villeneuve makes a move on Alex Tagliani, and when that does not work he finishes the No. 30 off.