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HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) - NASCAR says Tony Stewart will be allowed to compete in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship if he qualifies despite missing three races following the death of a sprint car driver at a New York track.

NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday that Stewart would need to win at Atlanta on Sunday night or at the regular-season finale next week in Richmond to lock up a spot in the championship.

Stewart will race this weekend for the first time since the Aug. 9 death of Kevin Ward Jr. at an upstate New York dirt track. He was struck and killed by Stewart's car as he walked on the track during the race to confront the NASCAR veteran over being spun one lap earlier.

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