The Cheez it 355, the race Tony Stewart still planned on participating in as early as this morning, began moments ago. Before the race started, Reverend David Fife gave an invocation, which would seem to be an appropriate time for someone involved with the race to acknowledge the tragedy that ended with Kevin Ward, Jr.'s death, offer condolences to his family, or express dismay at the loss to the racing community, etc. Instead, "thank you, God, for the great weather."

The ceremonial "gentleman, start your engines" announcement was next and then the race kicked off.

Tony Stewart released a statement that was read on the air during the race and NASCAR tweeted it out.

[ESPN]