NASCAR AMERICA: Mike Helton explains decision to make Stewart eligible for Chase (VIDEO)

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Tony Stewart missed three Sprint Cup races and did not qualify for the last two after his involvement in a fatal sprint car accident on Aug. 9.

Per NASCAR rules, all drivers that wish to maintain their Chase eligibility must qualify for each event. However, NASCAR president Mike Helton said today at Atlanta Motor Speedway that Stewart’s “unique set of circumstances” made for an special exception to those rules.

As a result, Stewart has been deemed eligible for the Chase should he be able to win either this weekend at Atlanta or next weekend at Richmond.

You can hear some of Helton’s comments in the NASCAR AMERICA clip above, which also includes a report from NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan on the atmosphere surrounding Stewart’s return at AMS.