Jeff Burton, 47, was named Thursday to fill in for Tony Stewart at Michigan International Speedway this weekend.
Stewart also sat out last weekend's race at Watkins Glen International, a day after the sprint car he was driving struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park.
There is no timetable for his return to NASCAR's premier series, according to Stewart-Haas Racing.
Burton has raced just twice this year.
He finished 17th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March and was 20th in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway race last month. In his last three full-time seasons, Burton never had more than six top-10 finishes.
Yet in many ways, Burton is the perfect replacement for Stewart this weekend.
BY THE NUMBERS: Jeff Burton's career statistics
Burton's nickname is "The Mayor" for good reason — he's one of the most respected people in all of NASCAR, always seems to say the right thing and conducts himself with the utmost class.
When NBC Sports was looking for a former driver to be an analyst for its NASCAR broadcasts starting next year, Burton was the top choice.
So Burton, who has won 21 Cup races, will be a suitable replacement for Stewart no matter the performance. The team can rest assured it has a driver who can handle a difficult situation and still perform — it's worth noting Burton had top-10 finishes at both Michigan races last year — and sponsors Mobil 1 and Bass Pro Shops know they have a representative who won't make any missteps.
Will Burton fill in for Stewart longer than this week?
The team says no decisions have been made for now. But no matter how he does in the race, Burton is a good choice for Michigan.
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